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in 2010 


CMlMliO UO lUiJUL / 

Tal ki ng Heads 2 

Letters 4 

Sex Ro I es / Social Con t rol 21 

Toiling Tails: "It's A Business Doing 

Pleasure With You" 30 


Hot Flashes! 37 

Porn: Turn On or Put Down?... 

Some Thoughts On Sexuality 38 

Bad Girl 53 

The Dead-End Game of Corporate Feminism 54 

Just One More Day 60 

Tales of Toil: Stuck In Stocks 62 

Corporatan ia 64 

Through The Tinted Glass 65 

All of the articles and stories in Processed World reflect the views and 
fantasies of the author and not necessarily those of other contributors or 

Credits: Helen Highwater, Chris Winks, Freddie, Maxine Holz, Louis 
Michaelson, Zoe Noe, Lucius Cabins, Stephen Marks, Bradley Rose, 
Sally A. Frye, Linda Thomas, The Motleys, Richard Laubach, Michelle 
La Place, Ricke "K'', Clayton Sheridan, Linda Wiens, Friends of the 
Toad, Out-of-Control Data Institute, Pauline Slug, Melinda Gebbie, 
Ian Hughes, and many others... 

Processed World, 55 Sutter Street U829, SF CA 94104 USA 


T/7/■S, the seventh issue of Pro- 
cessed World, is the first to be 
created in our new home — a 
basement in a Victorian in San 
Francisco's Haight-Ashbury dis- 
trict. Previously PW's production 
facilities were housed in one of the 
staff's apartment, but roommate 
hassles and the need for a more 
accessible location has put us out on 
our own, with an additional $275 
monthly overhead to worry about. A 
number of PWers, with the inval- 
uble aid of skilled friends, reno- 
vated a run-down basement, and a 
January 16 Open House christened 
our delightful new HQ. Thanks to 
all who helped, made donations 
toward the $1500 cost of the move, 
and came and had a good time at 
the Open House. We will probably 
be having another one soon. 

As indicated on the cover, this is 
our Special Sex Issue, with the 
themes of sexuality, sex roles, and 
the sex /work connection appearing 
in a number of articles. The opening 
article by Stephen Marks, "Sex 
Roles /Social Control" details the 
changing relationship between sex 
role mythology and work roles, how 
sexual insecurity is used to control 
us, and shows how the advent of the 
gay male clerical worker and the 
female manager has actually vali- 
dated the traditional patriarchal 
hierarchy in the office. Michelle La 
Place's article, "The Dead- End 
Game of Corporate Feminism," 
discusses how capitalist values have 
absorbed and distorted a once rad- 
ical opposition movement, and 
punctures the myth of women's 
liberation through career advanc- 

Going right to the heart of the 

sex /work connection, one of our 
regulars, Linda Thomas, "bares" 
her past in "Toiling Tails: "It's A 
Business Doing Pleasure With 
You." In a poignant, often hu- 
morous style, Linda makes the link 
between her eight and half years as 
a nude model, hooker, and stripper, 
and her more recent past in the S. F. 
office world, concluding that in 
most respects she was robbed of the 
same things by the ostensibly dif- 
ferent experiences. 

Maxine Holz, in her article 
"Porn: Turn On or Put Down?.. 
Some Ideas on Sexuality, " recounts 
her inquiry into the controversy 
surrounding pornography and re- 
jects the politics of both the "left" 
Women Against Violence and Por- 
nography in Media and the "right" 
Moral Majority-types. Critically ex- 
amining the claims of WAVPM 
activists in literature and the film 
"Not A Love Story, " Maxine coun- 
ters the emotionally-charged argu- 
ments in favor of repression but 
continues beyond the constricted 
borders of that debate to analyze 
the sexual poverty and sexual corn- 
modification that permeates mod- 
ern society. She condemns a sex- 
uality bound in by the "pole-in- 
hole" banality of pornography, and 
calls for one which is not cate- 
gorized and separated from the 
myriad of daily human experiences, 
and a life in which we are free to 
experiment, to fantasize, and to 
play with sexual and emotional 

The short story "Through The 
Tinted Glass," loosely inspired by 
Linda Wiens' cover graphic, and 
Sally A. F rye's "Tales of Toil: Stuck 
in Stocks" round out this issue, an 


issue we hope will satisfy both our 
regular readers who appreciate our 
unique emphasis on the office/ 
work-a-day world, and those critics 
who insist we break out of that 
"narrow" focus. As always, we 
have a large Letters section follow- 
ing this introduction, in which sev- 
eral discussions are continued and 
some new ones broached. 

Now that we have finished the 
arduous task of moving and reno- 
vation, our attention is once again 

turning toward strategic questions 
of how we can raise the stakes. We 
hope to convene an open assembly 
to air different ideas, tactics, and 
goals in the relatively near future — 
if you're interested please write to 
us. As always we are anxious for 
your comments, criticisms, and 
contributions to Processed World. 
Our mailing address remains "Pro- 
cessed World, 55 Sutter Street 
U829, San Francisco CA 94104, 
USA. Let us hear from you! 



just a hint : life will not be as we know it ... . 


Dear PW, 

You sure fill a slot for me. I'm 52 
now, been working since I was 10, 
about 90% of the time in offices and 
this is the first time I've seen 
somebody tackle head-on the real 
nitty-gritty of life in these paper 
factories from viewpoints I can 
empathize with, though I should 
qualify that a bit since for the past 
few years I've been working free- 
lance, a peculiar shadow-land be- 
twixt and between the normal 
categories. It has its own, often 

horrendous disadvantages and 
problems but I've decided I much 
prefer it to the 9-to-5 office wage 

I gathered that I missed a lot of 
discussion on one of my favorite — 
uh — topics, Sabotage but wot the 
hell. At the risk of possible repeti- 
tion: Generally speaking, everybody 
who works for wages is being 
fucked over. From a purely prag- 
matic standpoint, leaving out all 
questions of "ethics" (we know who 
promulgated them, don't we?), it 


makes simple common-sense to get 
back from the employer whatever 
you can. He's still going to come up 
winner, but you can even things at 
least partially if you have a creative 
mind. The main advice I can offer is 
the old saw: "Don't get mad , get 
even." The key here is keep your 
cool; allowing your natural rage to 
take control means mistakes and 
mistakes mean you get caught. 
Once you get on the inside of any 
office work situation, you will begin 
to see the holes in the system and 
how you can profit by them. And 
when you've exhausted all those 
possibilities, it's time to turn to 
creative monkey-wrenching. I will 
leave it for the theoreticians to 
argue about the dialectical nuances 
of sabotage. Basically, there is one 
overwhelming reason to do it: it 
makes you FEEL GOOD. "Igor like 
Sabotage — make Igor sweat. ' ' And 
I'd love to see a good detailed hard- 
line how-to booklet on the subject. 
Matter of sharing information — 

On the question of unions, I've 
found that often you can counter the 
(very natural) distrust most people 
have — particularly those in offices 
— of unions by simply going back to 
basics. Instead of insisting on 
affiliation with some Big Union, 
start your own. Admittedly you 
won't have the power of big 
organization behind you but you 
won't have to put up with all the shit 
either. If there's crap, you will have 
created it yourselves. This is parti- 
cularly true in small shops where 
you can sometimes operate in total 
solidarity without ever forming any 
kind of formal organization. This 
also frustrates the boss when he 
tries to ring in NLRB and other 
bureaucratic, delaying, organiza- 
tion-busting appendages on you. 
Again, small shops have advan- 
tages. One boss confronted with six 
people in an office who have 
secretly agreed to back each other 

up and down the line is in a rough 
position since he has nothing con- 
crete to counterattack. It's also a 
hell of a lot easier to engage in some 
of the more necessary forms of 
warfare with The Man such as 
blackmail, working purposely in a 
stupid manner (the original mean- 
ing of Sabotage, incidentally, 
though the meaning has been 
changed by common usage), etc. 
Not that you can't get chawed up 
even so. That, to me, was the real 
"message" of the very interesting 
film Blue Collar. 

Let's face it, that's where it all 
starts — with YOU trusting one 
other person where you work, then 
the two of you agreeing, after 
careful consideration, to trust a 
third... and so on until, with any 
luck and a little patience, the yous 
are at least a majority, by which 
time solidarity should have ex- 
tended to helping each other in 
ripoffs, covering for each other 
whenever necessary and coopera- 
ting to nullify the activities of 
company finks and supervisors. 
Mainly, you have to start some- 

Got to go (freelancing means, 
among other things, that you always 
have either not enough work or too 
much work — I've yet to figure out 
which is worse). 

D.E. — Oakland 

Dear PW: 

The article by Cabins, et al, failed 
to emphasize a couple of important 
points. The first is based on a 
presumption that all growth is ben- 
eficial. What else did the baby 
boom generation have going for it 
except its numbers and its corres- 
pondingly inflated expectations? 
Even the self-definition "boom" 
reveals a fallacious belief in the 


ideology of unlimited growth. The 
boom generation contributed bo- 
dies, 58,000 of which were killed in 
Vietnam, millions of which are now 
just another market. 

The second is that the frus- 
trations of the many have not been 
shared by all. How about Wozniak 
and his expectations? I am a white 
secretary who has worked longer 
than most of the boomers have 
lived. I have suffered as much at the 
hands of those half my age who are 
still working on their expectations. 
At the end of three decades of going 
downtown I have — guess what? — 
three decades of going downtown. 
We all live with our disappoint- 
ments. Besides these disappoint- 
ments we have something in com- 
mon. We are all consumers in the 
process of being consumed. And 
hard cash moves everything. 

About the editorial comment that 
offering services and information 
may encourage dependency: do you 
really believe this is true? History 
offers so many examples to the con- 
trary, underdeveloped countries 
and welfare recipients being but 
two. And just how is this supposed 
to happen? What legitimacy does 
PW claim? Are hordes of brain- 
damaged ("I guess I'll have a 
lobotomy and be a secretary," said 
the frustrated boomer mentioned 
above) office workers going to be- 
come "dependent" on PWl How? 
The only way I could become 
dependent on PW is if you send me 
a check twice a month, enough for 
rent, food and the occasional movie. 
I think you're falling for the myth of 
individualism, which doesn't work. 
Individual gains are too much like 
the promise of the charismatic 
leader. When one goes, the other 
goes. In fact, trying to do it alone is 
fighting impossible odds. And 
that's what the odds mean — you 
can't win. In the old, tired days we 
called it solidarity. Nowadays it's 
community, or maybe not. 

When I finish reading PW I pass 
it along to someone else. Does this 
encourage dependency? The 
thought never crossed my mind. 
But other thoughts do, and at this 
point I am conscious of the differ- 
ences between PW and me. Most of 
you are at the beginning of your 
working lives. I'm nearly at the end. 
It's been a long prison sentence, 
years of solitary confinement, dec- 
ades of longing for the city across 
the bay and the friends thousands of 
miles away and the stranger at the 
next desk. 

I'm unemployed now and should 
be typing my resume. Typing a 
resume becomes more and more 
like typing a suicide note, and yet 
choosing not to work is a kamikaze 
mission. When I wake up knowing I 
won't have to work for one more day 
I am filled with joy. Habits of three 
decades die hard. Without food I 
will be brain-damaged. And joy's 
easy to get rid of. It goes all by itself 
while I wait for the 14 Mission. 
From the freeway I can see the 
hideous megaliths of the financial 
district. And no Rasta feels more 
hatred at the sight of the towers of 
Mammon. We both must call down 
destruction, flames, purification by 
fire. He in his tin shack, I on the 
stinking bus, we share this vision. 
But quietly, quietly I go to my desk. 

B.C. — SF 

Dear Ms. Highwater, 

Well, dear, you have really hit 
low-tide now! You have revealed 
yourself to be the lazy good-for- 
nothing I always knew you were 
when you worked with that fine 
firm, Sodom Associates. 

I am none other than she you so 
maligned in your rag, Processed 
Worms. However, when the fine 
firm referred to above folded, I 


was forced to leave my home, S.F., 
and come east. 

My name, as you dubbed me, so 
ineloquently, is Chatty Kathy. 

Too bad, our fine president was 
unable to impress upon the Ameri- 
kan people the need to tax unem- 
ployment benefits. Lazy people like 
you would be forced back to work, 
off the role, and off the backs of 
hard-working Amerikans like me! 

Someone has to do the dirty 
deeds! Why do you resent whistle- 

Your time will come! Keep look- 
ing over your shoulder at the next 
place of work, there are many more 
like me (tee-hee... she who laughs 
last, laughs best!). 

Chatty Kathy — NYC 

Dear Processed World, 

Re the generally excellent re- 
sponse by Louis Michaelson to a 
moronic letter by a Mr. Wallis in #5. 
Louis erred somewhat when he 
stated that Western European 
youth prefer "to fight directly for 
money, free time, and the space to 
enjoy both." They are fighting for 
free time and free space, but are 
frequently fighting against money. 

Their actions include tactics such 
as squatting, self-reduction (which 
means organizing in large groups 
for the purpose of obtaining goods 
and services at prices lower than 
demanded by stores, buses, utility 
companies), rate strikes, and oc- 
casionally, expropriation and re- 
distribution of goods (what the 
media calls looting). These are all 
attempts at freeing human needs 
from the grip of the money system. 

The system's abolition will be 
necessary for workers to completely 
challenge "the state and the wages 


system" and begin "taking over 
social power and running produc- 
tion and distribution for their own 
purposes — without a bureau- 
cracy. ' ' Office work is dominated by 
the task of keeping track of money. I 
would like to see more on the role 
office workers could play in a social 
re-ordering whose aim is a new, 
freely cooperative and communal 

J.S. — Berkeley 

To Processed World, 

Within the context of leftist 
analysis modern society is riddled 
with annoying paradoxes. At times 
it seems that the PW editorial group 
is aware of this as when you take a 
stand against unionism for, among 
other reasons, reducing rebellion to 
structural goals. But yet you wish, 
somehow, to organize workers. 

Or to take another example, you 
state your desire to create a society 
beyond the logic of Capital but yet 
you appear to hanker for the good 
old days of social activism that a 
depressed economy will supposedly 
usher in ("Roots of Disillusion- 
ment", PWm), as if succumbing to 
the illusion of immiseration — 
misery as the motor of revolt. 

When you had an opportunity to 
take on these paradoxes by at least 
outlining a clear criticism of leftist 
practice, and defining your rela- 
tionship to this "tradition" as Louis 
Michaelson refers to it in his reply 
to Gidget's imputation of bad faith 
(in PW #5), you let it pass. And 
when W.R. of LA writes of the 
"revolt against work" Maxine's 
reply concentrates on a few obvious 
confusions instead of dealing with, 
head-on, W.R.'s substantive para- 
dox: That as the fragmentation and 
regimentation of society increases 
people lose interest in improving 

their dead-end jobs. 

I would say that the vision of a 
truly free society cannot be main- 
tained by PW's graphics and fiction 
alone. Is it not time to give your 
vision some more substance? 

C.S. — SF 

Dear PW: 

If I may stand in the line of fire 
between Gidget Digit and Louis 
Michaelson for just a minute, I 
would like to offer my criticisms of 
Processed World. 

GD's remarks about PlA/'s "hon- 
esty," despite their guilt-ridden, 
abstract, and undialectical nature, 
obviously touched a sensitive nerve, 
hence LM's disingenuous, ad homi- 
nem response. LM's protestations 
of "honesty" won't arrest PWs 
decomposition — the editorial 
"we" is in an advanced state of 
schizophrenia ("some of this think 
this while others think that''). 

I would venture to say that the 
problem of defining who you are 
and what you want is not resolved 
by the submission of resumes of 
past political affiliations — it's not 
so much a matter of origins as of 
present relations and projects. Your 
present is more obscure than your 
pasts, and its clarification (along 
with an analysis of your resistance 
to this clarification) would be more 

Differences within PW can only 
sharpen as PWers are compelled — 
not by me but by real developments 
— to confront their own activity. If 
PWers seem confused about their 
project and their expectations for it, 
this confusion seems less and less 
"innocent" and more like a flight 
from consciousness. Otherwise, 
how to explain the stagnation of 
Pl/V's critique and Pl/l/'s complete 
lack of criticality about itself? 

In fact, Pl/V's critique of work and 



authority doesn't go beyond the 
ambitious worker who's against 
"bosses" and "shit work" (and for 
self-nnanagement or self-employ- 
ment in an "interesting" occupa- 
tion). I think this may be the key to 
Pl/V's relative popularity — it's a 
"satisfying" representation of its 
readers' interests rather than a 
dialectical critique of them — 
workerism with a human face. (And 
this is in line with Pl/l/ers' self-con- 
ception as being just a bunch of 
regular folks who happened to start 
a magazine that happened to have 
an anti-authoritarian attitude.) 

Implicit in much of what is and 
isn't said in PW is the notion that 
theory can somehow be left for later 
or that its readers aren't sophisti- 
cated enough to appreciate it — that 
is, they can't think for themselves. 
Well, practice minus theory equals 
pragmatism: the magazine gets 
published. The question remains: 
why publish Processed World? 

J.B. — Berkeley 
Dear J.B., 

To respond to your concluding 
question first, we publish Processed 
World because it is an intrinsically 
satisfying creative experience. Be- 
yond that, the magazine attempts to 
address and illuminate the situation 
of the majority of the work force, 
i.e. information handlers. This fo- 
cus is not derived from the view that 
information handlers, office work- 
ers, are more likely than other types 
of workers {or non-workers for that 
matter) to move toward revolution- 
ary activity. Rather, we wanted to 
end the silence surrounding an 
aspect of daily life on which we, 
among millions of others, spend all 
too much time. And it is true that 
office workers as a sub-group of the 
working class do have enormous 
potential power to disrupt the flow 
of information which is vital to 
the maintenance of the present 

I agree with you that an assess- 
ment of our current relations and 
projects is crucial to our project. I 
think we have tried to do this in the 
"Talking Heads" introduction col- 
umns in PW's #5 and #6, where 
subjects like "organization," "sab- 
otage," "direct action," etc. were 
described as a source of contention 
in the group, and different view- 
points were outlined. You seem to 
think our inability to agree upon a 
single point of view is a sign of 
"decomposition" or "schizo- 
phrenia." I think it is wrong to 
imagine that we as a group should 
necessarily reconcile our differ- 
ences in order to continue. If a 
basically cooperative spirit is pre- 
served the magazine can become 
{and hopefully has been) a sounding 
board, where different ideas can be 
expressed and responded to. 

You criticize the magazine and its 
creators for "fleeing from con- 
sciousness" because we are con- 
fused about our project and where 
it's going. Is there something wrong 
with admitting to not having an- 
swers, or even comprehensive ex- 
planations? As has often been said, 
different people in the group have 


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different reasons for participating in 
PW at different times. We have 
neitfier "Principles of Unity" nor a 
basic operating credo. We are all 
anti-capitalist and anti-authoritar- 
ian, but what that translates into in 
terms of practical activity is quite 
divergent, and so it should be. I 
think diversity and disagreement is 
a great thing, provided that it takes 
place in a respectful atmosphere 
{which unfortunately isn't always 
the case). 

Let's face it, no one knows what 
it's going to take to overturn the 
current mode of living. We can and 
should have extensive inquiry into 
how such change could happen and 
what we can do as small groups {if 
anything) to help bring it about. We 
know that earlier theories of revolu- 
tion have proven bankrupt or inade- 
quate, even if we can learn from 
them, and that everyone every- 
where {or even in most places) is not 
going to change all of a sudden, as if 
by religious transformation. We 
need to learn how radical transfor- 
mations do happen. We can try to 
facilitate discussion and activity 
among ourselves and others, with 
an eye toward developing a prac- 
tical sense of what it takes to bring 
about the kind of changes we 

For you, our "critique" has 
stagnated at a point where it 
doesn't go beyond "the ambitious 
worker who 's against ' 'bosses ' ' and 
"shit-work" {and for self-manage- 
ment or self-employment in an 
"interesting" occupation)". Con- 
sidering that a pretty straight-for- 
ward critique of wage-labor, the 
money system, the state, and 
unions has appeared in at least one 
article in every issue, I really think 
you are not reading what's there. 
We have repeatedly called for a 
complete transformation of the 
whole of daily life, most especially 
the reality of "work. " Although as 
yet no article in PW has been 


devoted to a critique of self- 
management, we liave never advo- 
cated self-management, especially 
for office workers. 

If we fiave stagnated, it is as 
mucfi at the level of action as it 
migfit be at ttie level of theory. In 
fact, an adequate synthesis of 
radical critique and practical ac- 
tivity is a highly elusive goal, as you 
yourself well know. I hope more 
deliberate consideration and action 
is dedicated to achieving such a 
synthesis, not just within the PW 
group, but among radicals and 
"regular folks" everywhere. Clear- 
ly, we all have a lot to learn. 

Thanks for your comments, 
Lucius Cabins 

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Dear PW: 

I thought that #6 was the best 
issue since #1 or 2. I particularly 
liked "Roots of Disillusionment." It 
was clear, well developed, compre- 
hensive and still had an element of 
optimism about what happened in 
the sixties in spite of all of the 
recuperation and sellout that 

I like PW because it does attempt 
to deal with work from an "existen- 
tial" perspective, that is, PWers 
realize that above all work must be 
lived in all its frustrations, bore- 
dom, anxieties and contradictions. 
There are very few jobs that can 
actually be "liked," yet if one hates 
their job then they can only end up 
hating themselves. Yet if one likes 
their job on some level or other one 
still sees all that one is giving up so 
just below that level of liking there 
is an element of self-hatred. 

Yet as you so clearly expressed, 
what can we post marginals do? The 
socio-political, but above all econo- 



mic basis for marginal survival is 
gone. In Canada, in ternns of 
constant dollars, there is 40% less 
nnoney being put into unemploy- 
ment expressed as the amount 
spent on the average claim. We as 
conscious marginals survived on 
that 40%. 

But we can't go back and we 
don't want to go ahead. With no 
ambition to even strive to rise in the 
ranks, not to mention that there is 
not much room at the top any more, 
what does one do when one finds 
oneself marking time on the job? 
One develops a lot of cynicism, 
apathy, and anger to which there •'' 

no outlet. The dreams of escape, 
standard proletariat thought that I 
won't be here In thirty years like 
theseothersaroundme, are often the 
only escape. How long can one use 
"political activism" as a psycho- 
logical escape, as a means of 
validating our existence, of dif- 
ferentiating ourselves from the 
' ' mass worker' ' to whom we have so 
many contradictory feelings? 

Keep up the good work. There is 
so little material that speaks to our 
concerns as workers as opposed to 
simply trying to develop a theory 
about the working class. 

J C. ~ Toronto 



Dear PW: 

I liked Marcy's article about the 
"Them" festival a whole lot. It's 
nice to read about the spectacle 
without that word being used. In 
general, PW gets better and 
better and worse and better. It's 
great that y'all have decided to give 
letters all the space they need and 
you have been getting some good 
ones. And the increasing PER- 
SONALNESS is not just great, in 
the sense of "politically/ultralefty- 
correct" but INTERESTING, and 
consistently so. In other (less) 
words, I loved Talking Heads and 
Louis' letter. 

Now, most of what I want to 
respond to is the child care piece by 
PenneyO'Reilly. Although it SEEMS 
LIKE I'd like to find myself working 
in a center with her, especially 
compared to my generally horrible 
experience of your run of the mill 
"child care woiker", I have serious 
problems with both her analysis and 

The Ideal: Happy children and 
sympathetic teachers 

Shit, Penney, are you able to 
"express your thoughts and feel- 
lings simply and clearly"? I think 
maybe I've met one or two people in 
my life who I felt could claim that. I 
can't. Now of course, there are 
differences in how unclear most 
adults are. The clearer the better. 
You say "Once a relationship of 
trust is established between child 
and teacher, the child can develop 
the self-confidence to enjoy his/her 
surroundings." My experience of 
most kids, inside and outside of 
institutional settings, is that they 
have self-confidence and that it is 
adults, almost all of whom hate 
themselves to some degree, that 
quickly (in infancy) destroy the little 
person's ability to enjoy his/her 

I guess that's my major point. 
That you refuse, or fail, to talk 

about what I call "adultism" (shitty 
word, but...) You don't talk about 
how, even in the most Utopian 
centers, there are huge amounts of 
coercion. Part of it is relatively 
unavoidable in the real and night- 
marish world: i.e. you gotta keep 
them from getting run over crossing 
the street. But there's lots that 
obtains from the fact that they are 
forced to go to the center, live in 
usually nuclear families, etc. I think 
in a human world there wouldn't be 
such a thing as a day care center. If 
big people didn't have to do huge 
amounts of alienated worthless 
work helping crapital reproduce 
itself, they could choose to spend 
lots of time with their kids, IF 
TO~or they could choose not to 
have kids at all. I think children, 
from a very early age, can take care 
of themselves to an incredibly 
greater degree than is "allowed" in 
our society or your article. There's 
lots of "anthropological evidence" 
for this. What necessitates the 
crazy domination of children is 
among other things the fact that 
there is no community, people live 
in tiny isolated units and it's not like 
the kid (at the age of two or so) can 
wander out of the house, apart- 
ment, yurt, teepee and be safe, 
make friends, be in a human world 
where they are respected and 
protected and appreciated. 

Of course, adults who want to be 
with children could and would 
choose to do so and that is not only 
desirable but necessary. BUT IT 
A FUCKING JOB, and a poorly 
paid, basically oppressive one that 
fosters the repression of the kids so 
you can save your own sanity. I've 
clobbered a kid who hurt me 
physically because I didn't have the 
time to work it out with him (like 
why he had fastened his teeth on my 
leg when I asked him his name) 
because there was another kid 



freaking out and a few more trying 
to run away. (I always am vaguely 
gratified when children try to 

I agree that parent co-ops are a bit 
better, more than a bit if they make 
"workers' " lives better (so was 
Carter, sort of, maybe not who cares 
that much). 

Actually I've worked a whole lot 
of what little I've worked in co-ops 
and yes they were much smaller 
(very important and good) and 
better staffed numerically (ditto) 
and often semimore creative in 
terms of equipment, more and 
better field trips (what a joyous 
concept, that you have to make an 
event out of leaving your institution, 
neighborhood, area) BUT BUT BUT 
I hate the nuclear family I think 
we're doomed as long as that 
remains the basic unit of our society 
along with its glorious variation, the 
even more lonely and impoverished 
single parent family. I hate the way 
most parents treat their kids and 
most of them shouldn't have had 
any or at least not as many given 
how much time and energy they are 
able to put out given other respon- 
sibilities. I think most "adults" 
haven't the vaguest idea of what 
they want to do with children 
(especially groups thereof) or what 
children like to do. They're uptight. 
They don't play in their own lives 
and don't really want to play with 
the kids. They want to usually talk 
to the other adults and/or "in- 
struct" children. 

Of course I'm one of these adults. 
I hope I'm dealing with sex roles 
better than 99% of all parents I've 
met including co-ops and small 
groups. Of course I'm righteous. 
Of course I want it all. The article 
brought up a lot of pain for me. I 
"love kids" and have been fired 
several times from day care jobs, for 
my politics, atheism, long hair, 
militance, etc. etc. I want to be with 
them and the only friend I have who 

parents — well, I don't get along 
with his kid. took me years to 
realize that I don't like all children or 
they me etc. etc. I want to be 
around children but don't "want a 
job" tho' I need one and am 
looking. I'd like to hear from 
anyone who wants to talk about this 
if anyone of you has kids, I babysit 
for free. j _ gp 

Dear J., 

Your letter made me think about 
the conflicts and doubts I had and 
still have when I began taking early 
childhood education classes and 
working with kids. Rarely before in 
my life had I been in a position of 
authority. I had always been either 
a student or an employee, and my 
response to teachers, bosses, law- 
yers, landlords, doctors,., was to 
convulse in rebellion. Suddenly I 
found myself responsible for "en- 
forcing limits, " "supervising activ- 
ities" and {the most horrible of all) 
socializing children. 

I most emphatically did not want 
to police kids, but was ambivalent 
about how to express the authority 
implicit in my role. What about my 
anti-authoritarian beliefs? Should I 
let the kids do whatever they want? 
I quickly began to suspect that 
children are not miniature adults. 
They are unsocialized; born without 
the realization that they can't 
always have their own way (a 
realization which many adults never 
assimilate). I decided that what I 
most wanted to do as a teacher was 
to help kids find ways to co-operate 
with one another. It was obvious to 
me that they were eager to learn 
this skill because the more practiced 
they became at it, the better time 
they had playing with other kids. Of 
course, I could encourage children 
to be responsible and co-operative 
only in so far as I was responsible 
and co-operative with them. Once I 
thought that we had established a 
respectful relationship, I did not 



feel so bad about thwarting some of 
their activity. 

My own teachers in the early 
childhood education program 
helped me to clarify my attitudes 
toward authority. These teachers 
were, as we say in the trade, very 
good "models." Although posses- 
sing much more experience and 
knowledge than I, they did not make 
me feel inferior in intelligence or 
ability. I could learn easily from 
them because they were able to 
learn from my opinions and obser- 

I think socialization a sad but 
inevitable process. When I was 
working with toddlers, I often 
pondered the tragedy of toilet 
training in which one must give up 
the freedom to shit and piss where 
and whenever one wants and accept 
the restrictions surrounding elimi- 
nation in our society. But not even 
parents will want to change their 
children's diapers forever. And 
most children want to learn to take 
care of themselves. Children are not 
born nor can they live in a vacuum. 
For better or worse, children learn 
from adults how to survive in the 
world they inhabit. Hopefully the 
dynamic between child and adult is 
characterized by mutual respect. All 
too often it is not. I agree with you. 
Many of the parents and childcare 
workers with whom I have worked 
have treated children with little 
appreciation for their individuality 
and dignity. Probably these adults 
were treated in such a way when 
they were young. 

Now that I have worked with 
babies, I am convinced that human 
beings have powerful social drives. 
It seems the paradox of our exis- 
tence that society, which in many 
ways has ensured our survival as a 
species, is proving to be our prison 
and, perhaps, our gallows. I, too, 
dream of an institutionless com- 
munity where both children and 
adults can freely live with, play 

with, love and learn from whomever 
they wish. But everyday I confront 
the monolithic reality of the society 
in which the children I know must 
grow. Those moments of honest, 
supportive and co-operative ex- 
change between the people with 
whom I'm directly involved are the 
most authentic manifestations of my 
dream. It is on those moments I 
depend for my sanity. 

Thanks for your letter, 
,^ Penney O'Reilly 


Dear PW, 

I've just finished reading PIV #6, 
the first one I've ever seen, and I 
just wanted to send you my con- 
gratulations and support. I had 
hoped some intelligent workers' 
journal existed, especially for those 
of us in the outlands of radical 
America (although you'd be sur- 
prised how many socialists scoot 
around Louisiana). 

I also wanted to lend my two 
cents to K.L.'s call for an end ot 
managerial free rides. Over the past 
few years I've corrected hundreds 
of supposedly copy-ready articles 
for both newspapers and journals, 
but I've yet to get any real recogni- 
tion, either vocally or monetarily, 
from my bosses. So lately I've been 
letting these boobs stew in their 
own juices. God only knows how 
many times I've seen "thank you 
for your patients" on a "corrected" 
manuscript. If people want me to 
type up their papers and articles in 
as perfect a form as possible, they 
damn well better pay me for my 
editorial skills also. Sadly, more 
managers are illiterate these days, 
and mistakes go unnoticed. Perhaps 
we can create enough havoc in the 
meantime, though, to force some 
positive change. Right on, K.L.! — 
no more free rides! 

T.A. — Baton Rouge, LA 



Dear Processed World, ties, while hints of such activity are 

In PW #6, there are calls for a suggested throughout #6. 

"new social nnovement" and also The "Roots of Disillusionment" 

general questions regarding PlA/'s provides a vivid history which 

potential role in organizing activi- explains the decline in youthful 

A chosen few will ascend to heaven^ 

— The Bible, by Milton Jones 

Chap. 23, Subsection 6.3 

paragraph IVa., verse 2Q. 



idealism. The article suggests by its 
references to military build-up and 
the proposed new child labor laws 
that the ascendency of the New 
Right is a direct impetus to the 
current disillusionment. 

It seems to me that neo-conser- 
vative policies have severely exacer- 
bated a troubled capitalist economy, 
while these same policies intensify 
hardship on low-income people and 
the unemployed, thereby compel- 
ling them to tolerate deteriorating 
wages and working conditions. The 
current crisis is- not merely the 
result of the inexorable advance- 
ment of capitalism, but rather is 
additionally the direct effect of neo- 
conservative federal government 

As the Cabins article aptly points 
out, it is time for "idealistic" 
radicals and disgruntled workers to 
join forces in an all-out offensive 
against neo-conservative politics 
and ideology. A "new social move- 
ment" could be forged which would 
simultaneously exert electoral pres- 
sures to revolutionize American 

This movement would penetrate 
unemployment lines, welfare of- 
fices, and workers' hangouts 
through immersion in voter regis- 
tration drives. Citizens would be 
urged to register or risk losing 
unemployment benefits, jobs, or 
risk continually lowered real wages. 
The movement would be legal yet 

If successful the movement would 
register low-income people, office 
workers, and the unemployed who 
generally disfavor conservative pol- 
icies, but ordinarily fail to vote. As 
voter registrations rise, politicians 
will be alerted and take more 
popular stands or new politicians 
will rise up. Either way, the 
conservative position would be sev- 
erely threatened. Newer, more 
populist policies would eventually be 

generated. Once the "fire" of the 

new movement is fanned, there is 
no telling how fast it will spread or 
what other progressive flames it 
might spark. 

Yet the immediate task is to 
publicize the viability and powerful 
potential of this movement and to 
get to work organizing and register- 
ing. The beauty of this movement to 
me is its offer of tangible action that 
addresses the immediate wants and 
needs of workers. 

Hopeful and eager, 
T.M. — Santa Cruz 
Dear T.M., 

V\/e sympathize with your desire 
to get into action, but can't agree 
that the way to go is registering the 
poor and unemployed to vote (a 
strategy, by the way, recently 
adopted by a group around left- 
wing sociologists Frances Piven and 
Richard CI o ward, so we'll see what 

You write: "The current crisis is 
not merely the result of the inexor- 
able advancement of capitalism, but 
rather is additionally the direct 
result of neo-conservative policies. " 
True enough. But the current crisis 
is worldwide in scope, and includes 
not only "socialist" mixed econo- 
mies like West Germany and 
France, but the "Communist" na- 
tions as well. Reaganomics {which 
is also Thatchernomics) only aggra- 
vates the crisis locally by damaging 
exports, starving potentially- 
competitive businesses of capital 
and increasing the tendency to 
speculate rather than invest pro- 

A "rational" capitalist response 
would be: re-channel major invest- 
ments on a nationwide scale via a 
government-run holding company; 
clamp down on speculation; up- 
grade technical and scientific edu- 
cation and retraining; establish a 
basic minimum survival income for 
those that can 't be employed in the 
new high-tech industries. The wor- 



kers and poor would still have to be 
squeezed for fresh investment capi- 
tal, though, and the "reindustrial- 
ization" would only generate large 
numbers of new jobs if wages sank 
significantly below the cost of labor- 
saving machinery. In other words, if 
you want "full employment," pre- 
pare for low pay. The ideological 
banner under which all this is done 
— liberal, socialist, fascist — 
matters little. So long as the present 
world economic order persists, 
whoever drives the sleigh will have 
to throw many of us to the wolves. 

This doesn't mean we shouldn't 
fight. A movement capable of 
dealing with the problem at its root 
can only emerge from mass social 
self-defense against the demands of 
capital. But voting is generally of 
little use. The real masters of the 
economy and of society are not 
elected — they merely allow us to 
help them choose a governing team 
from among their internal factions. 
If we ever came close to electing a 
team that refused to play it their 
way, they would change the rules, 
as in Chile in 1973. 

The problem runs deeper still. 
The market and the wage system 
exist because people don't attend 
directly and collectively to satisfy- 
ing their needs. The state and every 
other separate power over social life 
exists because people don't take 
direct and collective control of social 
life themselves. A movement, ini- 
tially "defensive," which practices 
direct action and direct democracy 
{all essential decisions made by 
popular assembly, coordination 
carried out by mandated, recallable 
delegates and not by "represen- 
tatives") in itself begins to chal- 
lenge this state of affairs. When the 
movement additionally starts seiz- 
ing and redistributing goods, hous- 
ing, etc., it goes a long step further. 
It remains for the movements' 
assemblies to impose their own 
"plan" of collective tasks in the 

areas of their control, shutting down 
operations that are now useless, 
establishing completely different 
relationships between the remain- 
ing useful ones, sharing and rota- 
any necessary drudgery 
among everyone capable of doing it. 

During this process the forces of 
the old order have to be subverted, 
disorganized, paralyzed. Iran in 
1978 provides a fairly good exam- 
ple. The best-equipped army in the 
Middle East collapsed in a few 
weeks when faced with a worker- 
jammed industry, snipers and 
bombings, and wave after wave of 
unarmed demonstrators filling the 
streets daily, refusing to go about 
their normal routines. For a time, 
the workers and poor of Iran had 
social power at their fingertips. 
That they did not grasp it testifies to 
how deeply imprinted are the cir- 
cuits of authoritarian control. Only a 
movement that creates a "culture" 
of autonomy, self-responsibility, 
solidarity and free imagination can 
circumvent this trap. 

Placing any serious reliance on 
electoral activity — let alone mak- 
ing it the axis of our strategy — 
ultimately reinforces reliance on 
leaders. The radical, communal, 
empowering push of direct action is 
diffused in the solitary passivity of 
pulling levers in a curtained booth. 
Our real tasks are elsewhere. 

— Louis Michaelson 

Dear Processed World: 

Work has been work lately and 
I've resorted to the use of expensive 
drugs to liberate my nnind and soul. 
Thus, no money to subscribe to the 

I would also like to share a word 
processing observation. "Technol- 



Dear workers ot LLLs 

Here's how you can help stop the 


MISFILE those reports . . . SPILL COFFEE ON 

THE XEROX MACHINE ...forget to give telephone 
messages to your boss... V^hite-OUt key 

documents . . . LOSE INTER-OFFiCE MEMOS... 

mistype numbers... turn bomb blueprints 

upsidedown • • • miscollate scientific papers... 


Slow d€wn 



we eon 

Distributed to workers at Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab 

ogy" is cursed by "enlightened" 
protestors; connputers are deni- 
grated by oppressed workers. In all 
honesty, I generally prefer my NBI 
machine to the political, self-right- 
eous, egotistical peeple around this 
busyness world. It's the one thing in 
this joint that I control and that 

behaves in an understandable way. 
Pre-word processor, supervisors 
hunted through my garbage can at 
the end of the day to find out how 
many errors I had made. My an- 
noyance with the little blinking 
cursor doesn't compare to my fear 
of carbons! 



I work for money whether I push, 
produce, process or collect gar- 
bage/paper. The insanity I deal 
with isn't caused by technology but 
by the black-hearted little peeple 
trying to disguise, manipulate and 
maneuver neuroses. 

T.C — SF 


Dear PW\ 

Yes, as you keep saying, the way 
people deal with each other on a 
daily basis is important; and so is 
"enunciating new visions." If, 
however, a prankster wants to des- 
troy some of my work in the office, I 
hope he or she will be polite and ask 
me first. About half of it I wouldn't 
mind a bit. 

I take it from your last issue, that 
PW has become a fully fledged 
anarchist publication, and is put out 

Stealing Time on the Job 

quoted from U.S.A. Today 

Here are the most common forms of 
employee time theft: 

• Arriving late at work. 

• Leaving early. 

• Taking inordinately long lunch hours. 

• Socializing excessively with co- 

• Slowing down the pace of activity to 
create higher-paying overtime 

• Feigning illness and taking unjus- 
tified "sick" days. 

• Eating lunch on the premises — and 
then going out for a full lunch hour. 

• Using the employer's time to tend to 
personal business. 

• Taking numerous and long coffee 

• Operating another business on the 


• Making excessive personal phone 


To the museum curator 
The visitors 
Are the exhibits. 

— O'Tannenbaum 

by the most highly inspired of 
hydrogen and nitrogen inflated 
idealists. Half the world's best 
people sleep under the stars, and 
the other half are anarchists. If only 
the communist fantasies of the last 
100 years or the American fantasies 
had satisfied expectations, the last 
ten decades wouldn't have been so 
depressing. The anarchists tried to 
get people to forget about govern- 
ment as salvation altogether, and 
it's sad they never succeeded. 

Don't soldiers ever get bored or 
tired of their jobs like the rest of us? 
A third world publication said re- 
cently that during the last thirty 
years, there have been more than 75 
military coups — not one of which 
has ever "returned power to the 
people's representatives." I find 
this increasingly depressing. I hope 
PW will continue to provide sus- 
tained laughter and a bit more 
sophistication so that wage slaves 
can believe somebody knows better. 
If we deserve an improved world, it 
will be because we are less sure of 
ourselves, have deeper respect for 
each other, and are more thankful 
than the slide-rule military jerkoffs 
who are running things now. 


C.R. — Silicon Valley 

P.S. For the whole week after I read 

one of your issues, I find I have to 

puke a lot less... 


pporfsiEC (roPiD 


Sex RojjppciAL Control 

Male and female sex roles — 
"masculine" and "feminine" — are 
not determined by biology, but are 
socially created. They vary a great 
deal among different societies and 
historical periods. The "mythology" 
of sex roles is used to direct people's 
behavior and determine their social 
status, and society provides us with 
forms of recognition for vaUdating our 
status in achieving those roles. In 
modern industrialized society, jobs 
and products alike are categorized in 
terms of masculine and feminine and 
psychologically linked to our self- 

This is the sex role/social control 
equation: how our self-image and 
emotional needs are manipulated by 
social institutions ~ from schools to 
television to employment — and how 
the process of validating sex role 
status in America has been commer- 
cialized and marketed back to us as 
products and jobs. 


The dramatic changes in the Amer- 
ican economy after World War n were 
reflected in equally major changes in 
sex roles. 

The Depression made traditional 
means of livelihood untenable for 
millions of Americans involved in 
occupations like farming and small 
businesses emd trades. The outbreak of 
WWII re-industrialized the country. 
Families moved from rural to urban 
areas and, in the face of a labor 
shortage, women were brought into 
traditionally male jobs on the factory- 
line, as "Rosie the Riveter." After the 
war, the munitions plants made ap- 

pliances Eind America had a consumer 
economy: mass production supported 
by mass consumption promoted by ad- 
vertising and the new device of 

The rise of the suburban, nuclear 
family lifestyle meant that sex roles 
had to change. Media hype helped 
convince women to leave the work 
force and return to the home. Men 
had to be convinced to give up 
traditional American dreams of self- 
reliance and economic independence 
to accept jobs as wage-slaves on the 
assembly line and in the growing 
bureaucracy of the corporations. In the 
1950s, assuming the suburban hus- 
band and wife roles became a patri- 
otic duty. 

Betty Friedan's The Feminine 
Mystique is still the best account of 
how women's roles went topsy-turvy 
in the 40s and 50s. Friedan tho- 
roughly documents how corporations 
together with psychiatrists and other 
"professionals" helped make the 
housewife into the purchasing agent 
of the nuclear family. But what about 
the "masculine mystique"? 

The role of men was to e£irn the 
money to support this buying. But 
after WWII, jobs increasingly chal- 
lenged traditional ideals of mascu- 
linity. Suburban life offered security 
for both the unionized workforce and 
white collar workers. But it offered 
little of the traditional masculine 
mystique of independence, self- 
reliance, mobility, and self- 

Adapting to the new sex roles 
created anxiety for women and men 
alike in the 1950s. Advertising, mass 
media, and various cultural institu- 

PBOCE^^D 070^10 


billboards of Ihe future. 

tions played on this anxiety. The way 
to feel secure in one's sex role, they 
said, was to fulfill the appropriate 
economic role. Thanks to the influ- 
ence of psychiatry in this period, the 
ideological basis of sex role mytho- 
logy shifted from biology to an em- 
phasis on emotional and psychological 
differences. It wasn't that women 
couldn't handle men's work physi- 
cally — Rosie the Riveter challenged 
that myth — it was that women just 
weren't psychologically suited for 
those jobs. They were much better 
suited to be wives and mothers. And 
men's jobs — including the growing 
number of white collar corporate jobs 
— were described in terms of their 
masculine qualities. Managers were 
' ' obj ective , " " competitive , " " deci- 
sive" — supposedly "unfeminine" 
traits. The jobs that women con- 
tinued to fill in this period, typically 
clerical and secretarial jobs, were 
modelled after the premier female 
role: the housewife. And so the 
stereotype of the secretary as an 
office-wife to the male manager 

For men, a new collective authority 
was needed to establish the symbols 
of masculine status, in lieu of tradi- 

tional means of sex role validation. 
The male peer group bec£ime a new 
source of sex role authorization. Men 
became increasingly dependent on 
other men for recognition of their 
masculinity — whether on the street 
or on the job. 

The model of the male peer group is 
the military hierarchy. The higher the 
level one achieves in the hierarchy the 
more masculinity one accumulates, 
masculinity being associated with the 
power to control and direct others. 
The corporate world, like the factory, 
adopted this structure virtually un- 
changed. While the male hierarchy 
took on many forms (from the hierar- 
chy of the corporations to status levels 
of machismo), in all cases the hier- 
archy implied that there were degrees 
of masculinity. Men gauged their 
masculinity in comparison to those 
lower on the rungs of masculine 

In fact, this ongoing need to judge 
masculine status created a demand 
for a special group of men to be 
permanently identified with the low- 
est levels of male status — scapegoats 
for male insecurity who could be 
singled out and punished for their 
failure to achieve masculine status. 



This group's presence would serve as 
an impetus for male conformity. 

In the 1950s, this need was met 
through a national campaign of 
homophobia that indelibly stamped 
the role of the faggot on the American 


During the 1950s, homosexuals in 
America began to see themselves for 
the first time as a minority social 
group. Until then, the rigidity of the 
family, the grip of religious values, 
the isolation from other homosexuals, 
and the culture's denied of homo- 
sexuality prevented potentially gay- 
identified individuals from seeing 
themselves as anything but sickos and 
perverts. But the mass mobilization 
of WWII and the post-war social 
mobility broke down these con- 
straints. Gay GI Joe and Gay WAGS 
didn't go back to the farm in Iowa 
when the war was won: they began to 
settle in cities like Los Angeles, San 
Francisco, and New York, drawn by 
social, and job opportunities. (And 
many who received dishonorable dis- 
charges from the military for being 
gay could not return home.) The 
cities offered the possibility of emony- 
mity, of separating one's private life 
from one's public life. So the gay 
double-life of the 50s became the first 
step out of the no-life of the closet. 

'The treatment of gay people as a 
class — thanks to psychiatric propa- 
ganda and police harassment of gay 
bars — sparked gay people's aware- 
ness of themselves as an unfairly 
persecuted minority. In fact, gay 
people were the target of a deliberate 
program of homophobia in the 1950s, 
administered by both local and 
national government. 

Historian Alan Berube has obtained 
military documents showing that dur- 
ing the war, authorities were aware of 
homosexuality in the armed forces but 
chose to ignore it. A lecture to WAC 
officers in 1943 warned that "...Any 

officer bringing an unjust or unprove- 
able charge against a woman in this 
regard will be severely repri- 
manded. ' ' 

. . As soon as the war was over, 
however, this hands-off policy was 
reversed. It began in 1946, with 
homosexual witchhunts in the miU- 
tary. Between 1946 and 1953, thou- 
sands of gay people were purged from 
the armed forces — they were sent 
home by the shiploads. 

Beginning in 1950 the focus shifted 
to civilian life. Jonathan Katz, in Gay 
American History, shows how 
charges of homosexuality and com- 
munism were linked from the begin- 
ning of McCarthy's witchhunt. Homo- 
sexuals were accused of being secur- 
ity risks because they were vulnerable 
to blackmail. Of course, firing them 
for that reason was a self-fulfilling 
prophecy. But in the process, a link 
was made between disloyalty to one's 
sex role and disloyalty to one's 
country. During this period, over 
6000 alleged homosexuals were dis- 
missed from civilian jobs. These 
purges particularly affected those in 
"sensitive" professional jobs: the 
civil service, medicine, teaching, etc. 

The impact of these homophobic 
witchhunts on the American psyche 
should not be underestimated. As 
Jack Kerouac wrote in the 50s, "It's 
getting so you can't look a man in the 
eye without it being queer." Every- 
where, paranoid parents were obser- 
ving their children for signs of incon- 
gruous sex role behavior, secretly 
fearing their own sex role failure 
might "cause" their children to turn 
queer. Taunts of "faggot" became 
standard fare in male groups. 

Homophobia became the negative 
electro-shock stimulus in a Skinnerian 
system of sex role/social control. It 
was the ultimate way that men could 
be manipulated while manipulating 
others. And in a world that was 
increasingly sexually ambivalent, 
faggot was a way of labelling einything 
that wasn't clearly male or female. It 



could always be labelled half-female 
— that is, not-male — faggot. 




In the 1960s and 70s, sex role 
stereotypes changed again as the 
service sector became the foundation 
of the post-industrial American eco- 
nomy. Women re-entered the work 
force en masse to fill the new de- 
mands for clerical and secretarial 
workers. Because they were more 
specialized, these new clerical roles 
could no longer be subsumed under 
the secretary-housewife stereotype. 
Managers' roles changed, too. The 
importance of skills in selling, per- 
suading, competing, and directing 
was replaced with a new emphasis on 
cooperation , team work, maneuver- 
ing, and communicating — skills 
suited to bureaucratic paperwork. To 
make their way through the endless 
layers of authority in the corporate 
world, managers had to have "people 
skills." The "team player" must be 
able to compromise, to lower his 
defenses enough to take "feedback," 
to Usten to others and see things from 
their perspective. This amounts to a 
de-machification of the manager's 
role, a process I call the "Humaniza- 
tion of the Manager. ' ' 

The challenge to sex role stereo- 
types extended to society in general. 
Feminism challenged many myths 
and helped women to find alternatives 
to total emotional and economic de- 
pendence on men. As a result, 
certain ways in which men had 
validated their sense of masculinity at 
the expense of women were ques- 
tioned. Other scapegoats were played 
down as well: overt racism, for 
example, became socially unaccept- 
able in many settings. 

In fact, feminism and human 
growth psychology together put for- 
ward a new view of men. Men need 
not dominate women to be masculine; 
masculinity could be derived from 
more abstract associations. Men 
were seen as also having emotional 
needs, which were translated by the 
mass media into emotional insecur- 
ities that could be manipulated by the 
economy just as women's insecurities 

So the male mystique was stuck in 
old myths about self-reliance, brav- 
ery, physical prowess and conquest — 
cowboy s-and-Indians stuff. Yet, in 
the 1960s and 70s, there were few 
opportunities for men to vaUdate this 
mystique, except for a rugged week- 
end escape in a Winnebago. The 
result was a new challenge to the sex 
role mythology and a particular crisis 
in masculine identity. 

The media manipulation of both 
women and men's sexual insecurities 
was central to the creation of a new 
non-family, urban-based market for 
consumer goods and services. This 
market — the New Consumer — was 
forged out of the remnants of the 
counter-culture of the 60s, the 
women, gay people, straight singles 
and childless couples who filled the 
inner cities throughout the 60s and 
70s. They became the cutting edge of 
an urban revitalization in the 70s as 
they began returning to the job 
market, in the new downtown office 
jobs, but this was not the 60s dream of 
urban renewal. It was the profitlined 



This is my receiving unit — Its soft, 
feminine contours are specially de- 
signed to take all tfie dictating fie 
can give me..,.- 

Tfiis is my transmitter unit — notice 
its sleel< masculine appearance — I 
like tfie way it feels in my tiand 
wfien I'm dictating... 


The Ultimate in Sex Toys 

For the Office! 

dregims of the real estate speculators 
who tapped the market represented 
by "alternative lifestyle" people and 
began the process of gentrification. 
The refurbished inner city neighbor- 

hoods then became the physical 
counterpart of the New Consumer 

Through the New Consumer, the 
changes in male and female sex roles 

PRorEssED oraPiLD 


in the 60s and 70s were reincor- 
porated into worker-consumer pat- 
terns. The buzzword of the New 
Consumer is "disposable" income. 
Because these urban dwellers have 
fewer or no children, they can take £in 
income that would barely support a 
family and "dispose" of it freely on 
commodities. But since they don't 
spend money on a family, they had to 
be convinced to consume for other 

In the media, products were in- 
creasingly presented in sexual terms. 
The sexual freedom of the 60s was 
exploited through an unprecedented 
sexual objectification of women in the 
media. In the 70s, the sexual 
anxieties of men were appealed to for 
the first time. Sexual attractiveness 
had not been such a major concern for 
heterosexual men when they could 
take their domination of women for 
granted. But now they were encour- 
aged to be concerned with their hair 
styles, their clothes, their colognes, 
and how they looked on the dance 

A precursor to the sexuEd object- 
ification of men in the media can be 
found in the gay men's community — 
where new styles of male appearance 
were explored in the early 70' s. In 
fact, gay men had a special role in the 
formulation of the New Consumer 

The urban gay migration accel- 
erated through the 70' s. Middle class 
gay people entered the gay move- 
ment, bringing with them character- 
istic concerns of security and social 
acceptance. Typically the professional 
and middle class gay people were 
anxious to present themselves as 
being just like everyone else except 
for what they do in bed. The gay 
community in the 70 's developed a 
fetish for the symbols of the main- 
stream culture. Gay marching bands 
waved American flags and gay men 
lavishly squandered their disposable 
incomes on materigil symbols of main- 
stream status and security. 

The desire for socied acceptgoice 
was easily memipulated. Consumption 
became the Einswer to social and 
personal insecurity. While the idjnily 
stayed home and watched TV at 
night, gay men went out and con- 
sumed — entertainment, products, 
drugs, alcohol... £ind sex. Sex became 
the perfect consolation for 2in unful- 
filled life, a quick fix for a damaged 
self-image, inmiediately rewarding 
and reinforcing. As the influence of 
gay lifestyles spread, heteros also 
discovered that sex was an answer to 
insecurity. Finally, the media pre- 
sented its version of our anxiety and 
how products could help us by mgiking 
us more successful in obtaining sex. 

The fulfillment-through-consump- 
tion sell was one way in which many 
of the lifestyle experiments of the 60 's 
were assimilated into economic, con- 
sumer-worker roles. By the end of the 
70 's the signs of assimilation were 
everywhere: gay men sought accep- 
tance by using their "economic 
clout," women associated equaUty 
with a corporate career, products 
were sold on the basis of their 
sexiness, and the grass-roots politics 
of the 60 's were substituted with 
traditional influence-peddling and 
b£mkrolling in the form of "political 
action committees." But the clincher 
was the linking of the desire for 
self-realization to sex, and sex to the 
consumption of products. 

To address the crisis in masculine 
identity in particular, a new means of 
sex role validation was introduced 
through the consumption of media 
itself. Jerry Mander, in Four Argu- 
ments for the Elimination of Tele- 
vision, describes the influence of 
media on our lives as the "coloni- 
zation of experience." Media and 
advertising have invaded our con- 
sciousness to such a degree that we 
live out our emotions, and deal with 
frustrations, through vicarious media 
experiences. Advertising promises, 
television programs, films, spectator 
sports and video games all provide 



the opportunity to experience the 
'Hhrill of victory and the agony of 
defeat" so important to the masculine 
mystique. Similarly, women cein live 
out their emotional fantasies by 
meams of soap operas and romgmce 

But to deal with sex role changes on 
the job, an even more interesting 
technique is resorted to. 




The Woman Manager £ind the Gay 
Secretary are pivotal figures in the 
challenge to sex roles on the job. The 
corporate employers have managed to 
use the aspiration of both to mgike the 
transition from the patriarchal office 
of the 50 's to the "post-feminist" 
office of the coming decade. 

The Woman Manager helps link the 
60's' ideal of self-realization with the 
corporate career. More than any other 
group entering the corporate job 
market in the 70 's, the Woman 
Manager interprets having a career as 
the answer to her desire for personal 
growth. To some, the Woman Man- 
ager is the corporate watchdog femi- 

nist, breaking down sexual barriers. 
In fact, she is manipulated into a 
facade of equal opportunity by her 
token presence — eind she ends up 
reinforcing sexual assumptions that 
support the distinction between man- 
agement and clerical. 

The most interesting way that this 
can be seen is in the different ways 
women mgmagers dress and behave 
as compared to women secretaries. 
The secretaries still dress in styles 
considered feminine. But the Woman 
Manager is "dressed for success" — 
that is, dressed like a mzin in non-sex 
mid-length skirts with jackets and 
something like a tie, all made of the 
same material as men's three-piece 

Women who w£mt to "mzike the 
grade" in management must over- 
come a good deal of social condition- 
ing. They must become assertive, ob- 
jective, detached £ind competitive — 
like men. In this way, a symbolic 
association of msinager roles with 
masculinity is maintained. And the 
Womsm Manager ends up cham- 
pioning the right of women to act like 

Interestingly, however, women still 
bring to their jobs certain values and 



It IS 7a-^- I^Af>| 

5hc- K/CAf -H? Tire 
office. -^TxW^/T 




attitudes more common to them than 
to men. Women find it easier to be 
compromisers, negotiators, commun- 
icators, and to attend to individual 
feelings. They actually bring the 
qualities the corporation needs for the 
"Humanization of the Manager." 

At the non-memagement level, the 
Gay Secretary plays a key role. The 
young gay men who began taking 
secretarial jobs in the 1970's are not 
really motivated in the same way as 
the gay middle-classers. The Gay 
Secretary is in a limbo between the 
values of the counter-culture and the 
fulfillment-through-consumption val- 
ues of the New Consumer. Because 
they are not as concerned with estab- 
lishment proprieties, they have few 
hang-ups about taking jobs con- 
sidered lower-paying and traditionally 
female. So gay men not only entered 
the corporate workforce in numbers, 
they did so visibly, the result of a 
decade of gay pride. Actually, the 
lower-paying women's jobs were the 
least threatening place the corpor- 
ations could have allowed openly gay 
men to accumulate. 

Once in these jobs, gay men often 
help with another corporate strategy. 
Because they are often "over- 
qualified" for clerical work they help 
upgrade those positions, setting new 
productivity standards and lending a 
"professional" image to secretarial 
work. But like the Woman Manager, 
the Gay Secretary helps disguise the 
continued, now covert, sex role ster- 
eotyping of office jobs. 

Since these roles can no longer be 
sex-typed simply by limiting them to 
men (as managers) or women (as 
secretaries), they are associated in- 
stead with secondary sexual charac- 
teristics. Women who assume male 
jobs assimilate to masculine beha- 
viors and values. And men who take 
women's jobs are feminine — 
not-man — faggots. The sexual hier- 
archy is maintained : feminine/cleri- 
cal has the least status and mascu- 


Out-of-Control Data Institute 

line/manager has the most. Male 
managers who might wonder just how 
masculine it is to be a paper-shuffler 
can console themselves with a ration- 
alization something like this: "My job 
is still masculine — only gay men are 
secretaries." (Of course, psycholog- 
ical rationalizations like these are not 
usually conscious although they can 
be made conscious, as the first step in 
dealing with attitudes of sexism and 
racism, as well as homophobia.) 

The assimilation of women man- 
agers and the association of gay men 
with women's work belie their 
would-be role as challengers to the 
sexual barriers. The homophobia of 
the 1950 's has assumed a seemingly 
benign, subtle, and institutionalized 
role in the office of the 1980's. With 
gay men visibly concentrated in the 
lower rungs of the corporate hier- 
archy, the faggot-scapegoat gets a job 
title and a place in the daily working 
lives of millions of Americans: the 
ever-present reminder of the dif- 



ference between masculine-manager 
and feminine-clerical. And the sex 
role/social control equation remains 
in force despite the advances of 
women, gay people, and other 

Considering this history of the 
changes in sex roles in the past three 
decades, one thing seems clear: in the 
future we should not underestimate 
the cleverness of the mainstream 
culture in assimilating our aspirations 
perverting our ideals, and seducing 

us into consumer and worker roles at 
the expense of our desire for self- 
determination and autonomy. To 
break up the sex role/social control 
equation not only should sex role 
stereotyping be challenged, but the 
entire system that benefits from this 
social manipulation should be ques- 
tioned and our own relationships to 
that system reconsidered. 

—by Stephen Marks 



''It's A Business Doing Pleasure With You" 

Eight and a half of my twelve years 
working experience were in the sex- 
for-money market. The last three and 
a half I have worked in the so-called 
''straight" sector. I've never really 
been able to separate the two work- 
ing experiences. Though they are 
vastly different, they are both firmly 
rooted in the same money market. 

My first job was after school in a 
drugstore in Walsenburg, a small 
town in Colorado. My mother was a 
known prostitute. I lived openly with 
my boyfriend, which earned me a 
"bad reputation." Girls from school 
asked me to get birth control pills for 
them, but I refused because I hated 
their hypocrisy. The job was not too 
bad— I took advantage of whatever 
fringe benefits I could create. The 
handyman took advantage of every 
opportunity he could create to trap me 
against the wall and cop a feel. He 
intimidated me, but I always ma- 
naged to get away, and I quit soon 
after graduation anyway. 

I "developed" early, and had a 
regulation "nudie" magazine type 
body. Since I had a "bad rep," men 
were always after me. Even my brother 
couldn't resist. When he came back 
home from his stint in the army and 
found me all grown-up and open- 
hearted, he raped me at my other 
brother's house. I had gone there 
because he wanted to talk about my 
future and the possibility of going to 

Some friends of mine lived in the 
mountains near Redwing, Colorado. I 

visited them and decided to accom- 
pany them to NYC. After arriving 
there, my friends and I managed to 
acquire funds, so I didn't think about 
working. One day while out walking 
on the lower east side, I saw a place 
called the Pink Orchid. I love orchids, 
so I went inside and met the owner, 
Danny. He was the cutest red-headed 
boy I've ever seen. With him were 
several young, pretty women. They 
explained to me that it was a nude 
modeling studio, and that I could be 
paid for being photographed in the 
nude. The women further explained 
to me that I could make tips by having 
sex with the customers. Excluding 
the relationship I'd had with my 
boyfriend, my sexual experiences 
thus far indicated that my sexuality 
was going to be taken advantage of 
anyway, so getting paid for sex was a 
form of vindication. I immediately 
doubled the house prices at the Pink 
Orchid. The other women followed 
suit, and we were all happy about 
that. I still remember one of the men 
who frequented the place. He had a 
twisted penis and ejaculated from the 
side. Most of my friends were involved 
in various forms of the under- 
ground economy. I didn't ask them 
what they did for money, and they 
didn't ask me. When I returned to 
Colorado, however, friends in Denver 
were horrified when I told them what I 
was doing. They persuaded me to get 
a straight job and I was hired by a 
chiropractor. I didn't have the skills 
for office work, but he gave me lots of 



time to do the paperwork. He had big 
plans for me to become a chiropractor 
and gave me free treatments for a 
back injury. The rest of his time he 
spent chasing me around the table. 
Soon it seemed ridiculous to receive 
minimum wage for what he had in 
mind, so I gave up my future as a 
chiropractor and went back to "The 
Life" as it's called by those who live 

The Adult Literary Guild All-Girl- 
Shoe-Shine-Parlour, Pornographic 
Book Store and Nude Modeling Studio 
was my next employer. We shined 
shoes for 50 cents plus tips. We wore 
short skirts, and a mirror behind us 
allowed the customers to see what we 
had to offer. Often, the shoe shine 
would entice them into a "modeling" 
session with one of us. Between the 
modeling and the shoe shines, I made 
big bucks. I had a few tricks of my 
own as well, like Maurice, who 
refused to take out his false teeth 
when he gave me head. I nearly died 
laughing at those teeth clicking be- 
tween my legs. Once someone ar- 
ranged a "date" for me who turned 
out to be one of my sister's high 
school boyfriends. As far as the 
transaction was concerned, it didn't 

matter that we had practically grown 
up together— he paid his money, and 
he got his goods. Back in New York, 
I tried selling hot dogs on Wall St. 
People would come to stare at the 
novelty of a woman selling hot dogs 
but took their business to the man up 
the street who resented the "compe- 
tition." (He actually chased me down 
the street once. It's hard to run fast 
while pushing a hot dog cart.) 

Undaunted, I got another job in the 
Wall St. district, at a place called 
Maiden Lane Massage. While work- 
ing there, I acquired my first and only 
pimp. At first, I didn't think of it that 
way. Certainly, he never assumed the 
role of procurer, but did encourage 
me to make more money. So I went to 
work for Caesar's Retreat, a posh 
midtown massage parlour where I 
made up to $700.00 per day. I shared 
the money freely with Lee because I 
am a generous person. In my line of 
work, I felt a "real relationship" was 
impossible since it couldn't fit the 
"you and only you" category, which 
to me defined a "real relationship." 
Besides, I didn't have the time. Lee 
understood that. He held me at night 
sometimes, when I needed that. 

Show some 

The Insurance Management Team at the Palace Theater 



When I became ill and was hospital- 
ized, he took all the money I had and 
disappeared. I heal quickly though, 
and in two weeks I was back at 
Caesar's Retreat and began my own 
private practice. 

Private practice is risky; you have 
only yourself to rely on. There is 
a network of tricks who use call girls, 
and soon my name and number got 
around. One of my regulars was a 
rabbi who liked to be whipped. I 
started getting calls from a man who 
threatened he "knew all about me," 
and gave me the option of spending 
the weekend with him or in jail. 
Around the same time, my landlord 
alerted me that a couple of detectives 
had been looking for me. 

I conferred with my friend Kathy 
and we decided to head for Las Vegas 
and the big time. Neither of us had 
experience at picking up people be- 
cause we were used to having them 
come to us. The massage parlour 
scene was dismal, and there were 
places nearby where it was legal and 
cheap. We packed everj^hing in 
Kathy 's old cadillac and drove to L.A. 
where we hired on with an "outcall 
Escort Service." We decided to work 
in pairs for safety, so when I got a call 
to join Kathy at the Hyatt Hotel, I 
figured the guy wanted two girls or 
something. When I arrived there, I 
was immediately arrested. My friend 
Kathy was on probation, and had 
talked the cops into letting me take 
the bust instead. I got bailed out and 
went to stay with friends. Kathy 

By this time, I was exhausted and 
my body felt like it was falling apart. I 
decided that I had to get out of the 
business. To make it easy on myself, I 
got a job as a receptionist in a 
massage parlour. I knew that no one 
would give me a hard time, no typing 
was involved, and I could share my life 
with like-minded people. A man who 

often came in recommended that I be 
a masseuse. I told him the truth, that 
I was happily involved with someone, 
and four months pregnant. He didn't 
care — he wanted me, and one night 
on the late shift, he came in with a 
long knife and got what he wanted. 
He was very brutal, euid complications 
set in with my pregnancy. I lost the 
baby shortly afterward. 

My next attempt to make a living 
was as a stripper. I worked at the 
Coronet on La Cienega Boulevard. I 
transferred to San Francisco for two 
weeks, and worked at what used to be 
the Follies Theatre on 16th St. It was 
winter, and there was no heat. The 
basement dressing room walls were 
cold and damp. I contracted a mild 
case of pleurisy and told the manager 
that I wanted to go back to L.A. He 
warned me that if I broke my contract, 
I would never work for them again. I 
left anyway and got a job at the Ivar 
Theater which I eventually ended up 
managing. Actually, we all managed 
the place, interchanging jobs and 
otherwise supporting one another. 

The manager didn't object because 
our self-management freed him from 
responsibility. When he argued with 
our decisions (like hiring a black 
woman as comedienne-MC, or hiring 
a 50-yr. old stripper) we voted him 
down. When someone in the audience 
started jerking off, the dancer would 
signal the projection booth and who- 
ever was running the spotlight would 
focus it on him. 

I became acquainted with a tour 
guide who brought groups in. Plying 
me with the famiUar argument: 
' 'What's a nice girl like you doing in a 
place like this?", he introduced me to 
a gift shop owner who gave me a job 
in his office. It was a Japanese-run 
shop, and as such, the working 
environment was characterized by 
teamwork and co-operation. None of 
the men ever hit on me, and we all 














worked hard together. I began to feel 
that perhaps I could make it in the 
straight world after all. I learned to 
be a bookkeeper by trial and error. 
Then my boss got married and his 
wife took my place. 

Armed with my new skills,! went to 
work for an insurance brokerage. My 
grasp of the work to be done was very 
rudimentary. I struggled along, 
trying to cope with this new environ- 
ment; typewriters clicking, computers 
beeping and humming. I cried nearly 
every day for the first month. I finally 
got the hang of it though, and I did my 
work and tried to look happy about it. 

(A man who had graciously under- 
taken to train me as whore extraor- 
dinaire had informed me that it was 
most important to appear to enjoy 
what I was doing. ) I tried to be an. 
exemplary worker, but could not 
reconcile this to the rage that was 
growing inside me. I constemtly 
suffered from migraines and I felt 
very self-destructive, feeling that no 
matter how hard I tried, I wasn't good 
enough. I gave notice and began 
feeling better. 

After a vacation from the work 
world, I joined the temporary work- 
force. During this time, I went to 

cont'd, on p. 36 


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cont'd, from p. 33 

Ascot Personnel Services and met 
Leslie, who was eager to find the 
* 'right position' ' for me. When asked 
what I really wanted to do, I answered 
"Write poetry." She reacted by 
giving me a typing test. Looking me 
up and down, she asked me if I would 
be willing to spend $300.00 on an 
"interviewing costume." I envision- 
ed a sequined G-string and fringed 
bra and went home and cried. 

Without Leslie's help, I got hired at 
another insurance brokerage. While 
working there, I noticed that one of 
the men who used to sit in the front 
row of the Palace hung out on the 
corner. He clearly recognized me, 
and though we never spoke, the 
encounter was an intense one. His 
presence reminded me that I had 
never fit in anywhere — neither in the 

crowd rushing down Kearny St., nor 
on stage. 

The working world is an alien one, 
whether exchanging sex for money 
or time for money. Life itself becomes 
a commodity. I've tried to acquire the 
work ethic. I've devoted myself to my 
work, done overtime without pay, 
furiously entered data, cooperated 
until I was drained. 

Despite my efforts, I grew alienated 
and withdrawn, in the same way that I 
"withdrew" sensation from my body 
when I was in The Life. The toll 
extracted from my body, my heart and 
my mind has been the same — 
alienation, rage, shame. When I 
hawk Processed World on the streets, 
people often angrily ask what alterna- 
tive I have to Wage Slavery. I always 
tell the truth (honest politics) that I 
don't know of any. This is America, 
where we can all grow up to be what 
we want to be. We've all heard the 
story about so-and-so, who started out 
shining shoes and is now a million- 
aire... well-meaning, charitable types 
suggest doing "something you really 
like" for money. 

Step right up folks, she's spinning 
gossamer webs of poetry right out of 
her very being, be the first on the 
block, get 'em while they 're hot 

Will the Real Rapist please 
Stand Up? 

It's not you, blue-eyed brother. 
It's not you, long-knived one, 
Nor You, tender, sweetly parting 

my thighs. 
I am spread eagled, bound: 
Slave to the almighty dollar — 

Capital Punishment. 

(The condition in which the whip 
becomes an extension of the arm 
swinging innocently by your side as 
you walk to work.) 

— by Linda Thomas^ with thanks to the Processed 
World staff, for their Truly Human Contact (With me). 






Tues., December 7, 1982 

Brothel Gives 
A Big Party — 
Just for Ladies 

Ballle Mountain, Nev. 

Madam Julie Hickman 
said yesterday the women of 
the community always ask 
her about life in a brothel, so 
she threw a big party to let 
them see for themselves. 

Hickman, operator of the Cali- 
co Club, invited about 300 women 
from Battle Mountain and neigh- 
boring towns to the party on Sun- 
day. Men were not invited. 

The women sipped champagne, 
watched a fashion show and talked 
with the six prostitutes employed at 
the place. 

One of the prostitutes handed 
out tickets for door prizes. Asked 
how she liked the work, she said, 
"Us bettor than being a secretary 
like 1 was before working here." 

( tilled Press 

Clerk Charged 

Boss Killed Over 
Christmas Bonus 

New York 

A 38-year-old law clerk who complained 
about the size of her Christmas bonus shot and 
killed one of the firm's partners yesterday, po- 
lice and a company spokesman said. 

Barbara Austin was charged with murder after she 
allegedly fired three shots into Jay Jacobs, a 50-year-old 
resident of Greenwich. Conn., at the offices of Burke & 
Burke on Fifth Avenue, police said. 

"Afterward, she was heard to complain that the 
amount of her year-end bonus was unsatisfactory," said 
Michael A. McElroy, a firm spokesman. 

Austin fired five shots at the lawyer, hitting him 
three times, police said. A gun was recovered at the 

McEiroy said that after shooting Jacobs in his 
office, Austin returned to her desk outside and sat 

McElroy said Austin operated a word processor 
and did not work directly for Jacobs. He would not 
disclose the size of her bonus, but said it was deter- 
mined by a committee and said. "I understand it was 

At the a police precinct house, a man who said he 
was Austins boyfriend waited for her to return from 
the hospital. 

The man. who identified himself only as Giovanni, 
said she had complained of harassment on the job but 
would not say what kind. 

4»»ocialed Prem 

* ♦ * 

ATTEMPTED SUICIDE on the job can 

be grounds for dismissal, an arbitrator 
rules. A union had fought the firing of a 
dairy driver who cut his wrists. The union 
argued that the driver suffered from mental 
illness. But employers needn't "take the 
risk" of giving such workers another 
chance, the arbitrator says. 



Until recently, controversy about 
the commercial sex industry in the 
U.S. has been dominated by the anti- 
pornography campaigns of such di- 
verse political groups as Women 
Against Violence and Pornography in 
the Media (WAVPM), and the Moral 
Majority. Although opposed on al- 
most any other issue, they agree that 
the public availability of explicitly 
sexual images for the purpose of 
sexual arousal is evil and should be 
suppressed. Pornography, they ar- 
gue, is not only morally offensive to 
normal citizens, but is directly res- 
ponsible for sexual deviance and 
violent sexual assaults against wo- 

To convince people that porno- 
graphy is inherently degrading and 
violent to women, WAVPM relies 
heavily on the indignation and disgust 
that graphic sexual images tend to 
evoke, especially in people who are 
unfamiliar with them. In the movie 
Not A Love Story, (whose arguments 
are typical of the WAVPM campaign) 
such images are presented against a 
backdrop of eerie music to increase 
the horror effect and are interspersed 
with interviews with "experts," who 
interpret the images for the audience. 

Professional psychologists are called 
upon to provide behavioral models 
that support their claims but emo- 
tional fervor, rather than concrete 
evidence, prevails in WAVPM 's ana- 

Is it true that pornography is 
typically violent and degrading? Does 
the consumption of pornography lead 


[new ibBOLOGY ! Its ORBP(r] 

JIT MAKES Vol/ peel' 

{really o(/iLry: 


PRorESiED (rroRLC 

to violence against women? At least 
one major study on the subject, 
conducted by the U.S. Commission on 
Obscenity and Violence (1970), con- 
cluded that it does not. Other studies 
with similar conclusions are cited by 
Beatrice Faust in her book Women, 
Sex and Pornography, "A Contro- 
versial Study." Faust admits that 
research methods and the results 
differ so much that it is possible to 
draw almost any conclusion from a 
survey of the literature. (I came 
across this very interesting and con- 
troversial book quite by chance. It was 
listed in a bibliography that accom- 
panied an article against porno- 
graphy, and was described disdain- 

fully as "pop sociology.") Beatrice 
Faust's own exhaustive research 
leads her to conclude that "Porno- 
graphy does arouse aggressiveness as 
well as sexual feelings but that is not 
translated into anti-social — particu- 
larly anti-women behavior except 
possibly in a tiny minority of cases, ' ' a 
minority made up of people who are 
vulnerable to influence because of 
their prior attitudes or experiences. 

An interview with a reformed ra- 
pist, reprinted in the book Men on 
Rape, by Timothy Benneke, supports 
this opinion. He was brutally abused 
by his stepmother throughout his 
childhood, had become a serious drug 
abuser in his early teens, and had 



recently broken up with his wife after 
a disastrous marriage (during which 
his wife refused to have sex with him 
but went to bed with his cousins 
behind his back). He was full of rage 
and despair and hatred toward wo- 
men. Shortly after viewing a $ .25 
movie featuring a rape in a porn book- 
store, he raped a woman while fan- 
tasizing that he was killing his wife. 
He remembered being so disoriented 
that he addressed the victim by his 
wife's name as he left her. When 
asked whether the rape was insti- 
gated by the movie he said that in 
fact, the movie had given him the idea 
and that he felt such movies should 
not be publically available. He added, 
however, that in the state he was in, 
he was bound to commit some kind of 
violent act against a woman, and 
might equally well have gone out and 
killed someone. 

As a Spectator reader put it in a 
letter to Mistress Kat, author of the 
tabloid's De Sade column, 

[The filmakers of Not A Love Story] 
give no credit to the viewer's ability to 
decipher fantasy from reality. How 
many leave a porno theater and go out 
and rape and pillage? Most, I assume, 
get turned on, go home, jack off or go 
home and fuck their wives. If you walk 
into aporn theater a nut job, you HI walk 

out as a nut job. If you walk in as a 

normal person, that's how you'll walk 

out. " 

The other side of the argument is 

summarized by the testimony of "ex- 
perts" interviewed by director Bonnie 
Klein in Not A Love Story. Feminists 
in the movie repeatedly refer to a 
simple behavioral model: violent, 
sexist images get translated into 
violent sexist behavior, i.e., porno- 
graphy breeds rape and violence. At 
one point a professional (male) psy- 
chologist explains authoritatively that 
men turn to porn for excitement and 
titillation, but after a while the images 
may no longer do it for them. So, the 
story goes, they turn to more violent 
images and when these images no 
longer satiate them they turn to acts. 
The interviewers shake their heads 
and appear quite convinced. 

This "slippery slope" thesis re- 
minds me of the school shrink telling 
my father that my use of marijuana 
was dangerous because it led to 
heroin addiction. The "proof" was 
that most heroin addicts initially got 
into drugs by smoking marijuana. 

The anti-porn analogy apparently 
needs even less "proof." Nowhere in 
the movie are we enlightened by any 
factual evidence linking rape to por- 
nography: moral fervor seems to be 



argument enough. Are rapists typ- 
ically frequent consumers of porn? 
According to research cited by Bea- 
trice Faust, most sex offenders are 
indifferent to pornography. Even if 
they weren't, the converse notion — 
that porn consumers are potential sex 
offenders — is highly speculative, 
and the question itself misleading 
because it implies that all porno- 
graphy is the same. 


Which brings us to another ques- 
tionable plank in the WAVPM/anti- 
porn campaign. Does porn typically 
represent violence towards women? 
People who rely on WAVPM for their 
information on pornography probably 
think so, since many of their exgmiples 
are taken from the bondage, s/m 

My advice to people who are not 
traumatized by pictures of genitals 
and naked bodies copulating is to teike 
a look through the porn rack the next 
time they are in a magazine store that 
carries porn. My own perusal of 15-20 
typical pornzines convinced me that 
WAVPM grossly exaggerates the vio- 
lence and s/m in pornography. Out of 
several dozen sequences depicting 
naked or scantily-clad women in pro- 
vocative poses, only one sequence of 3 
or 4 pictures could be termed "vio- 
lent" in the usual sense of the word. 

Even these shots (of a woman bound 
by her wrists and ankles) looked 
artificial and certainly could not be 
mistaken for a real torture session. 
Clearly Susan Griffin's claim that 
"pornography is filled with images of 
silencing women" — corroborated in 
Not A Love Story [NALS] with a 
picture of a gagged woman — is false. 

In NALS, all of the porn footage 
featured sexual violence which would 
probably horrify the average movie- 
goer. In my own random sampling of 
porn theaters in San Francisco's 
Tenderloin I encountered none of 
these supposedly prototypical 
images. The five movies I watched 
consisted mostly of "pole-in-hole" 
sequences and blow jobs, with a 
smattering of lesbian sex scenes and 
an occasional plastic penis. This ad- 
mittedly limited survey (I didn't go to 
the theaters which cater specifically to 
the s/m crowd) was corroborated by a 
Village Voice review of Not A Love 
Story whose author, Andrew Sarris, 
was a juror for the Sixth Annual Erotic 
Film Awards sponsored by the Adult 
Film Association. Sarris said that 
' ' None of the films submitted to him by 
the Adult Film Association of America 
were even remotely in the s&m 

One can only conclude that the 
makers of NALS went out of their 



way to find images they knew would 
most disturb their audience. Maybe 
they feared that run-of-the-mill pom 
images wouldn't evoke sufficient hor- 
ror and revulsion to support their 
position. This dishonest approach is 
unfortunately characteristic of the 
WAVPM strategy. 

Many feminists counter by de- 
claring that, since pornography ap- 
peals to aggressive sexuality (male 
lust) and to men's desire to dominate 
women, it always victimizes, de- 
grades and objectifies women and is 
therefore explicitly or implicitly vio- 
lence against women. 

Hiran comilona 

Por Naranjo 

It is true that the representation of 
women in pornography is sexist in 
many ways. It is also true that 
pornography embodies an alienated 
form of sexual activity (sex for mon- 
ey). But most men turn to porn 
because they are lonely and frus- 
trated, not because they want to 
dominate women. Domination and 
objectification of women is by no 
means the only, or even the predomi- 
nant turn-on in pornography. Women 
in pornography are not just depicted 
as sex objects, they are also often 

active sexual subjects. Women in 
porn movies and shows tend to be 
sexually insatiable, and often initiate 
sexual activity. 

Some men in the audience do get 
off on humiliating women performers. 
But their aggressive, disrespectful 
behavior stems partly from a tradi- 
tional sexist double standard that 
holds that women who are sexually 
aggressive and uninhibited are "bad 
girls" — morally and physically cor- 
rupt. Men (and women) aie taught to 
despise what they desire — a confUct 
that is perpetuated by a blsuiket 
condemnation of pornographic exper- 

The womens' movement has often 
called pornographic advertisers' use 
of provocative images of women to 
draw attention to their product. The 
manipulation and exploitation of sex- 
ual imagery for commerciad ends has 
profoundly shaped our sexuality. In 
particular, constant exposure to 
anonymous sexy women, available to 
all through the commodity form, pro- 
bably contributes to men's general 
tendency to be more easily turned on 
by visual images or personal fauitasies 
of anonymous female bodies. 

Many women find it hard to accept 
or understand this depersonalized 
mode of sexual arousal because we 
have suffered the consequences of 
being constantly viewed and evalu- 
ated in sexual terms. Men's condi- 
tioned fantasies and responses force 
us into unpleasant self-consciousness 
— from the times we are hooted at or 
mentally undressed by arrogant 
strangers in the street, to subtler 
forms of pressure exerted in the 
bedroom. Industry has exploited this 
situation by playing on womens' fears 
of sexual undesirability. But many 
contemporary feminists, in their eag- 
erness to fight "objectification," have 
ended up condemning any represen- 
tation of women meant primarily to 
elicit male sexual response as inher- 
ently degrading to the female sex. By 
extension, they condemn as "male" 



the pursuit of pleasure for its own Since many people (including women) 
sake. use and enjoy sexual accessories of gdl 
But the sexual fantasies porno- imaginable sorts, clearly their senses 
graphy appeals to are not always work differently than Robin Mor- 
degrading to all women. If some gan's. Why shouldn't people use 
women claim that they enjoy being "toys" if it turns them on? As long as 
overpowered by or overpowering their partners are not coerced or man- 
sexual partner, that they get off on ipulated into doing things they don't 
aggressive sex play or dominance wemttodo, does ginyone have a right to 
fantasies, and have fun turning on dictate how other people derive sex- 
their lover with sexy underwear (in ual pleasure? 
other words, Horror of horrors! they 

enjoy being treated like sex objects) ' 

or even that they themselves are ^hat works for you don't always 

driven by lust, they are told that their ^ork for me. . . 

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of their social conditioning. (The most ♦•••••••••••••«•••••••••••• • 

extreme proponents of this kind of Sexual tastes vary greatly, and 

sexual standard claim that because what repels one person cem very well 

penetration itself is a form of sexist be a source of great excitement to 

domination, truly liberated sex can another. An extreme example: the 

only take place between women, or two most shocking cUps in iVi4ZS were 

with men with flaccid penises!) In one of a woman tied to a table, her 

other words, they are told that what breasts bound up, while a man 

gives them sexual pleasure is wrong savagely stroked her body. The other 

and morally reprehensible — they showed a woman sucking the barrel of 

really shouldn't enjoy it because it a gun. Both the images horrified me, 

degrades them. and at the time I felt anyone who 

On what higher judgement are could get off on that has got to be 

these standards based? Can I really really sick and maybe even a menace 

be accused of degrading myself when to society. Then I read the following 

I participate willingly in a sexual act exchange, once again, in the Spec- 

that gives me pleasure? tators "De Sade" column: 

In NALS Robin Morgan refers dis- ' 7 was not at all offended by the 

gustedly to people who use "toys or plight of the woman who has her 

tricks" in sex, claiming that such breasts severely hound and was hav- 

perversions "benumb the senses." ing clothes pins applied to her nip- 

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pies. Although I did hear several 
gasps coming from the audience, my 
own reaction was having my pussy 
involuntarily twitch. I was mad they 
didn't show more... 

...I don't like the idea of anybody 
being forced into sex if it isn't what 
they want to do. There is a difference 
between a mutually agreed domi- 
nant/submissive relationship and a 
relationship in which the submissive 
is an unwilling participant and 
doesn H see the fun in it. 
Response by Mistress Kat: 
"...I have a straight, submissive 
woman friend, a very well-balanced 
individual overall, who has just 
bought a gun for erotic play; she plans 
to file off the firing pin for safety. She 
has been somewhat uncomfortable 
with her own desires for such a lethal 
toy. But having learned that she can 
play safely with some of her other 
erotic imaginings, she longs to play 
with this ultimate symbol {to her) of 
male power. 

Are these the ravings of deranged 
lunatics? To me, it sounds as if these 
two women have clearly estabUshed 
the boundaries between fantasy and 
reality, between sexual coercion and 
(admittedly bizarre) sexual play by 
consenting partners. I personally find 
these fantasies distasteful and I won- 
der how people come to find them 
arousing. Is it just a matter of 
enjoying extreme intensity of sen- 
sation? Or are these fantasies a way 
for these women to overcome the fear 

and oppression that women are sub- 
jected to in reality, a kind of ironic 
revenge? Are they a result of inter- 
nalizing the violence that is so preva- 
lent in our society? Or does the 
excitement come merely from break- 
ing the strictest of society's taboos? 

Research on the subject of women's 
sexual fantasies has revealed that 
significant numbers of women draw 
on images of sexual dominance and 
coercion to enhance their sexual plea- 
sure. More often than not these 
women do not care to turn their 
fantasies into reality. Yet in Nancy 
Friday's fascinating book My Secret 
Garden, several women confess that 
without their fantasies they are in- 
capable of enjoying sex. Indeed, 
many women interviewed express 
heartfelt gratitude toward Nancy Fri- 
day for giving them the opportunity to 
speak openly about their fgmtasies, 
thereby helping to dispel the shame 
associated with the affirmation of 
their sexual needs. 

The need to experience sensations 
of complete power or powerlessness 
is undoubtedly a product of the fears 
and inequalities that abound in this 
society. The recent rise of interest in 
s/m porn is probably related to a 
general increase in levels of tension 
and anxiety throughout the popula- 
tion. If in some cases s/m reinforces 
anxiety or inequalities in social rela- 
tionships, in others it is a way to 
neutralize or subvert them. For some 
individuals, fantasies of being a bot- 
tom are a way to purge haunting fears 
of abuse or domination in the real 
world. Acting out these fears on a 
sexual level helps to relieve them. 

At its best, sex involves a complete 
surrender to pleasure, a feeling of 
being out of control and therefore 
emotionally vulnerable. This state of 
total release is easily blocked in this 
sink-or-swim society with all its moral 
strictures against sensual pleasure, 
especially for women. Rape fantasies 
can be a way of overcoming guilt 
about sexual release, a sort of psy- 



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chological trick played on oneself: If I 
have no choice but to submit, it's not 
my fault so I might as well enjoy it. 

Most people's horror at these fan- 
tasies is certainly justifiable — es- 
pecially for those whose actual ex- 
perience with violence against women 
makes it hard to conceive of anyone 
deriving pleasure from s/m images 
and power games. It is also likely that 
for some men, violent images reflect 
misogynist attitudes. But the point I 
want to make is that some people 
derive harmless pleasure from images 
that shock and disgust others, and 
this does not mean they are potential 
criminals or psychiatric cases. In fact, 
some people who indulge in s/m or 
other "deviant" sexual fantasies and 
practices are probably saner than 
others whose denial £ind repression of 

their fears and desires makes sexual 
pleasure impossible. 


NALS has the merit of documenting 
workers' views and experiences in the 
porn industry — a perspective that is 
sadly ignored in most discussions on 
the subject. Unfortunately the sym- 
pathy toward porn workers initially 
demonstrated by the director and 
feminists in the movie turns out to be 
heavily laced with a condescending, 
accusatory self-righteousness. 

At one point writer Kathleen Barry, 
introduced to the audience as an 
"expert witness," describes the typ- 
ical sex industry worker as "totally 
enslaved," a victim of "all the per- 
version that exists in society." Terri 



Richards, member of the U.S. Pro- 
stitutes Collective, was outraged by 
this "expert" who tried to "show us 
to be pathetic, rather seedy victims, 
who, in our work, allow ourselves to 
be manipulated and abused by men 
because we're too stupid to know any 
better." (quoted from a letter to the 
editor in the Nov., 1982 issue of 
Coming Up!) 

The women workers interviewed in 
NALS defy Barry's analysis. For 
example, the movie features several 
discussions with Linda Tracey Lee, a 
feminist cum tourguide for director 
Bonnie Klein. Lee speaks candidly 
about her work early on in the movie. 
Very much a subject in her perfor- 
mance, which is simultaneously a 
strip show and a conscious parody of a 
strip show, Lee clearly appreciates 
her success with the audience. She is 
not offended or disgusted by their 
display of "animal" sexual behavior. 
Rather, she appreciates the sex club 
scene because it is "honest," and she 
enjoys turning men on and observing 
their behavior — feelings echoed in 
subsequent interviews with other wo- 
men who work in the business. 

NALS's director and her entourage 
of feminist "experts" should have 
taken seriously the statements of 
these women workers. Instead, we 
find the director attacking a disturbed 
Linda Tracey Lee at a particularly 
vulnerable moment, following the 
screening of a sadistic, violent pom 
flick. "You're part of it" Klein 
insists, implying that by working as a 
stripper Lee is somehow responsible 
for the misogyny that some kinds of 
porn appeal to. Despite the on- 
slaught, Lee continues to defend her 
work (though I have read that she 
eventually did give up stripping to 
become an actress). 

Linda Tracey Lee's self-confidence 
and thoughtfulness about her trade 
may be rare but definitely not unique. 
In an interesting discussion of the 
difference between male and female 
tum-ons in the Spectator, Mistress 

Kat refers to the pleasure some 
women derive from acting out "age- 
old fantasies" of dancing naked in 
front of strangers. She describes the 
lively performance of her friend Mor- 
gan, an experienced dancer, who, on 
stage "is in control and clearly enjoys 
it." (Incidentally, among sexual fan- 
tasies described in Nancy Friday's 
book, exhibitionism was one of the 
most frequent tum-ons.) 

Morgan and Linda Tracey Lee hold 
relatively privileged positions in the 
commercial sex market. Most women 
who work as hookers, strippers or 
models for pornzines have less auto- 
nomy and are more vulnerable to 
physical and moral abuse by bosses, 
clients and the law. The WAVPM 
approach encourages harassment and 
marginalization of the sex industry. 

Five women wearing black masks 
picketed the British consulate in 
San Francisco on 11/19/82 to pro- 
test what they called "police ille- 
gality and racism" against prosti- 
tutes in London and San Francisco. 

The pickets, members of a group 
known as U.S. Prostitutes Collec- 
tive, said the action was in sym- ^ 
pathy with a score of masked 1^ 
women who sought refuge in a 
London church the previous week^r 
after claiming that police harass-^ 
prostitutes without cause. f 

One San Francisco demonstratorp' 
carried a sign that read, "Justice fT 
for the working girl!" 

Rachel West, a spokeswoman for 
the group, said "police brutality 
and harassment is a daily fact of 
life" for prostitutes in SF and in 
London. "We're arrested while 
walking our dogs or shopping," she 
said. "We take a lot of verbal abuse 
and even beatings and rape by 
police. And we're fed up with 
officials trying to take away our 

The women picketed the Mont- 
gomery St. building chanting: "No 
bad women, just bad laws..." 



But this kind of social pressure 
undermines workers' attempts to 
fight their exploitation because it 
leaves them no recourse to legal pro- 
tection, and no way to appeal to public 
support for efforts to organize against 
bad working conditions. 

Moreover, the feminist anti-pom 
movements 's complicity with the re- 
pressive apparatus (according to Terri 
Richards of the US Prostitutes Collec- 
tive the movie was made with the assis- 
tance of the Toronto Vice Squad) is 
disturbing. Police harassment and 
violent abuse of streetwalkers and 
strippers is notorious. As Richards 
says: "It's time they (feminists) came 
clean about who they are helping and 
whose side they are on — the side of the 
police and the laws against us , or on our 

Several of the women interviewed 
in NALS (and other friends of mine 
who have worked as strippers and 
hookers) do complain bitterly about 
the crass, misogynist behavior of 
some male customers. Also working 
conditions are often appalling — no 
heat, poor sanitation and long hours. 
One woman in NALS noted that on 
some days she and her husband 
perform their live sex show — a 
copulation act — twelve times in a 
single day! However, this same womgin 
claimed frankly "It's nothing to me to 
be naked in front of strangers." 
She prefers this work to a "respect- 
able" 9-5 job because it pays more 
and she can work with the man she 
loves rather than suffer the humili- 
ation of having a boss on her back all 
day long. 

As Terri Richards points out: "the 
filmmakers chose not to pick up on 
this and nothing was said about the 
degradation women suffer in 'respect 
able jobs,' the fact that, e.g. accord- 
ing to a recent survey published in 
Ladies Home Journal 'anywhere from 
36-70 % of working women have been 
subject to sexual harassment, ranging 
from a dirty joke to an outright 
'get-laid-or-get-fired' proposition.' " 

The singular obsession with the deg- 
radation of women in porn is a clear 
indication of the conservative bias of 
the WAVPM movement. 

In many ways, working as a porno 
star or a hooker is no different from 
working as a secretary (see "Toil of 
Tail..." in this issue). In both cases, 
women must render services to their 
boss or customer, not primarily as a 
result of their needs or desires, but 
out of economic necessity — i.e., they 
both are engaged in a social relation 
(wage labor) that alienates their life 
activity. The stigma associated with 
commercialized sexual pleasure 
stems from the fact that sexual acts 
are, after all, the most vital and inti- 
mate of human relations. In our 
culture, sexual intimacy is considered 
to be the ultimate expression of love 
and pleasure — whose transgression 
is understandably looked upon as a 
betrayal of one's humanity. 

But we live in a world that continu- 
ously forces us, against our better 
judgement, to sacrifice our humanity 
and compromise our principles. For 
some women, performing sex acts is 
less dehumanizing than secretgirial 
work. And what of the typist who 
finds herself typing eviction notices 
for slumlords? Or the artist or writer 
who is obliged to produce trash in 
order to make a living? Or the des- 
perate father of four who takes a job 
producing weapons that will be used 
to murder rebelling peasants in El 
Salvador? Or the legal aide who helps 
defend a corporation against asbes- 
tosis claims despite her better judge- 
ment? Are these any less of a betrayal 
of one's humanity? Certednly we 
should resist the dehumanizing forces 
of society wherever possible — but 
workers in the porn industry should 
not be scapegoated. 

Feminists have exposed other, 
subtler forms of economically moti- 
vated sexual alienation. It is well 
known that many wives submit un- 
willingly to their husbands' demands 
for sex, in exchange for financial 


security. Sex offered in exchange for pleasure. On the other hand, the rep- 
promotions or even job security also resentation of sex and women in 
falls in this category. As Beatrice pornography, as in the media in gen- 
Faust put it "at least the girl who sells eral, is unrealistic and idealized. The 
herself with her eyes open is not a distortions of pornography can rein- 
hypocrite, and in world with a cash- force sexist attitudes and encourage 
sale ideology, that is a positive, even expectations that conflict with reality 
a heroic virtue." _ especially if they are not corrected 
WHATS REALLY WRONG by personal experience. 

WITH PORN ^ ^ large, the sexual fantasies 

of pornography are produced for male 

There are many good reasons to be consumption. The sexism in pom lies 

critical of pornography. On the one less in its representation of women as 

hand, pornography may be educa- passive victims than in its depiction of 

tional and liberating for men and female sexuality exclusively in the 

women who have been brought up to light of male sexual fantasy. Women 

regard sex as a shameful and dirty in pornographic movies perform in 

activity. Images of people enjoying essentially the same manner as men 

sex can help reduce guilt associations are supposed to peform according to 

with what ought to be an act of mutual prevailing (male) sexual steindards. 

Blackness snaps away fronn the little screen 
No bloom of lace no tongue slowly undressing 
no hips and thighs folding 

into each other like wet clay on the wheel's edge 
Only an operation in close-up 
big whitish fingers prod and tug jerky as insects 
hairs suture taut / blood-orange skin slips open 
coming apart the way a star does in a drop of sweat 
Dark interior muscle stirs among its gleams 
a streamlined instrument moves in 
other fingers direct it / severing or stitching perhaps 
quicker now / an emergency / blackness again 
We are not shown 
her body half-wrapped in pa'le fabric being 

under huge helmeted glares 
The personnel leaning away to adjust and monitor 
breath cycled through / heart clocking In 
over and over not shown 
her eyes half-open / secretly trying to escape 
and the brain they grow from 
its blue coruscations of childhood wavering out 
like burnt cities seen from orbit 
the signal to cut 

All this we are in the dark about 
fumbling for more coins In a damp twisted pocket 
All this 

like health like having somebody really 
reach into where we live 
we do not even imagine 

Adam Cornford 


For instzince, women in Pom are 
instantly aroused without need of 
foreplay or tenderness. 

Most people will agree that there 
are differences between male and 
female sexuality. Though some wo- 
men enjoy currently available porn, 
surely a pornography that was geared 
toward female sexual arousal would 
have some differences in emphasis 

and content. Current pornography's 
near exclusive concern with male 
arousal perpetuates an unequal situa- 
tion: the affirmation and exploration 
of sexual pleasure by women has only 
recently gained some social legiti- 
macy. Consequently, women tend to 
find it harder to discover what they 
enjoy and to make their pleasure 
known to lovers. Mutual understemd- 



ing of sexual needs and differences of 
the opposite sex is important because 
it helps dispel fears and insecurities 
that get in the way of sexual pleasure. 
In Women, Sex and Pornography , 
Beatrice Faust uses the term "pomo- 
topia," first coined by Stephen Mar- 
cus in The Other Victorians, to refer 
to the unreality of the pornographic 
experience. In modern pornography, 
men never have trouble getting an 
erection, and women are instantly 
aroused. Nobody ever sweats, there is 
always a comfortable rug or couch 

available, and privacy is never a 
problem. Nobody worries about con- 
traception, herpes, or whether they're 
too fat. Potential sexual partners who 
conform to stereotype Playboy/Play- 
girl standards of beauty and sexiness 
appear everywhere, they are uninhi- 
bited, desirable and instantly sexually 
compatible. This ideaUzed presenta- 
tion of sexual opportunities and be- 
havior is obviously at odds with most 
people's experience. Trying to live up 
to these standards can only contribute 
to a crushing sense of failure and 

^ 'T^-.riZji-v.^ f'^SL^^.r^llT^ 




In reality, all sorts of economic and 
social constraints inhibit the total 
abandon which is the basis of sexual 
pleasure. The loneliness, anonymity 
and distrust that characterize the 
modern urban environment, the lack 
of opportunities to meet people, scar- 
city of time, energy and space, the 
countless anxieties of daily life all 
contribute to the poverty of sexual 
relations in our society. How can 
people abandon themselves to their 
sensuality when they have been 
numbed by 8 hours of tedium and 
stress on the job? How can they relax 
enough to get carried away by car- 
esses and rhythm when they are 
fraught with anxieties about how to 
pay their bills or care for their 

In porn movies, there is no mystery, 
no romance or jealousy, not even 
tenderness or affection, let alone love 
or friendship. The scenes that come in 
between the fuck scenes are just that 
— one wonders why they even bother 
to put them in at all. For the most 
part, the quality of filming and acting 
is abysmal, and the plot non-existent. 
The psychological and emotional void 
that surrounds sex in porn movies, 
itself a reflection of the ghettoization 
of sexual relations in our society, is in 
turn manifested in the atmosphere of 
ahenation and solitude that pervades 
porn theaters. 

* * -X- 

In its current state, pornography 
does perpetuate sexist attitudes and 
contributes to the ghettoization and 
commercialization of leisure, but it is 
not their primary cause. Better por- 
nography would help — a porno- 
graphy (or erotica) that could for 
example, convey the beauty of odd 
sizes, shapes, and wrinkles, the plea- 
sure of discovering partners' idiosyn- 
cracies, the infinite variety of ways 
(not strictly physical) that desire takes 
shape. But the basic contradictions of 
sexuality and pleasure in general go 
beyond porn, they are inscribed in 

capitalist relations of money and 
power: sexual misery often results 
from a situation where people are 
bound together out of economic nec- 
essity or fear of loneliness, rather 
than mutual attraction or a freely 
chosen common project. Oppressive 
sex roles are exploited by the media to 
encourage patterns of consumption, 
and manipulated by authorities to 
control people's behavior (see Ste- 
phen Marks' article in this issue). 
Limited opportunities for creative ful- 
fillment, the lack of love, and a 
general sense of powerlessness lead 
people to derive self-esteem from 
distorted notions of sexual desirability 
and prowess: men see women as 
potential "scores" or "conquests," 
while women often strive to incite 
sexual desire, not because they feel it 
themselves or have any intention of 
satisfying it, but as a way of exerci- 
sing power over men. 

The enormous increase in the pro- 
fits and sales of the sex industry in the 
last decade should be addressed in 
light of these conditions. At this 
point, we can only speculate on the 
reasons for this surge of interest in 
porn: a reaction of men who feel threat- 
ened by the women's movement 
attack on male behavior? Easier ac- 
cess to porn since the early 70 's? A 
result of the relaxation of sex mores? 
Or of the increasing difficulty of car- 
rying on satisfying relationships in a 
period of heightened economic pres- 
sures and generally deteriorating so- 
cial conditions? Whatever the rea- 
sons, the fact is that for every person 
who publically denounces porn, there 
are hundreds, maybe thousands, who 
consume it in private. Censorship, 
legal repression and blame cam- 
paigns won't put an end to porno- 
graphy and "deviant" sexual beha- 
vior any more than prohibition put an 
end to alcohol or drugs or homosex- 
uality — they will only force it further 
underground where it becomes a part 
of organized crime — the police/ 
racketeer economy. 


The approach of the anti-porn cam- 
paign to the questions raised by por- 
nography is laden with bias and a 
spirit of moral condemnation that ob- 
scures the basic issues. The problem 
with both "left" and "right" anti- 
porn campaigns is that they seek easy 
targets and unambiguous solutions, 
and exploit the high emotional voltage 
with which social taboos have charged 
the issue of sexuality. 

The strategy of guilt tripping peo- 
ple to correct their "sexist" behavior 
presents a great obstacle to under- 
standing and exploring sexuality. 
Men and women are discouraged 
from acknowledging their sexual 
practices, needs and fantasies for fear 
of being labelled deviant, sexist, or at 
the very least victims of sexist con- 
ditioning. This is obviously not a good 
environment in which to protect sex- 
ual freedom and women's rights — a 
fight which is crucial to any struggle 
for a better world. The goal of this 
struggle should not be reduced to 
demands for "better conditions" or 
even "freedom from exploitation." A 
movement capable of transforming 
social relations to create greater op- 
portunities for happiness must also be 
inspired by a politics of pleasure — a 


desire to restore the joy of the senses 
to their rightful place in human life. 

— by Maxine Holz 

Special thanks to friends in PW and 
beyond whose invaluble opinions, ex- 
periences and support helped shape 
this article. 


For several years now, a vocal 
minority of feminists have recog- 
nized the importance of defending 
the pleasure principle and have 
voiced their criticism of the anti-porn 
approach in various articles and 
publications. {See for example the 
1981 "Special Sex Issue" of Here- 
sies, "Talking Sex, A Conversation 
on Feminism and Sexuality" in the 
July-Aug., 1981 issue of Socialist 
Review, recent exchanges of points 
of view in the Village Voice, and in 
particular, the fascinating Diary of a 
Conference on Sexuality, published 
in the summer of 1982 by partici- 
pants in a conference held at Bar- 
nard University in N.Y.) The flour- 
ishing debate on sexuality is a 
hopeful sign of a new open-minded- 
ness, a willingness to reconsider old 
assumptions and ask difficult 




















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The Dead -End Game 
of Corporate Feminism 

Fresh out of college, I was hired as 
the assistant to a woman who led 
women's self-help seminars. Her 
ostensible purpose was aiding women 
in finding alternative careers through 
support networks. The seminar was 
aptly named "Women Can Win!" 
and was facilitated by a couple of 
psychologists who drove expensive 
cars and wore the finest in business 

It slowly dawned on me that there 
was something dreadfully wrong with 
the feminism they peddled. To the 
outside observer and the unsuspect- 
ing client, the organization had all the 
makings of an effective feminist sup- 
port group. Once-exclusive "old 
boy" information could be obtained, 
contacts provided, and personal sup- 

port guaranteed, as women took the 
frightening step away from isolation 
and toward a new, more fulfilling life. 
My incompetent, autocratic, highly 
driven employer personified the utter 
hypocrisy of the "Women Can Win!" 
ethic. A psychologist with a degree 
from Columbia, Judi had directed 
her energies away from altruistic 
principles toward building her com- 
pany into a huge, money-making 
venture. What Judi £ind the others 
wanted to "win!" was good, old- 
fashioned American success, and they 
would step on anyone, especially their 
secretaries, to convince themselves 
they had it. After a huge altercation 
— where she accused me of not 
"selling our services" vigorously e- 
nough, and I accused her of under- 



paying and using me — I quit. 

Corporate-style feminism has be- 
come a national preoccupation, with 
proponents in every profit and not- 
for-profit organization, in periodicals 
dedicated to its proliferation, in ad- 
vertisements and in entertainment. It 
is hailed by even ardent, political 
feminists as a sign of the wide 
acceptance of women's equality. Yet 
it haunts every woman unsure of her 
next step and frightened by the 
dead-end path on which she finds 
herself. This article examines the 
new feminism of the eighties, and 
points out the contradictions which 
inhibit it from continuing as an 
important social movement. 

Corporate feminists tell us that 
female culture breeds powerlessness, 
which dooms women to second-class 
citizenship. They then advise us to 
learn and practice the rules of male 
behavior so that we can move to the 
top of the pyramid. Nowhere is this 
feminist doctrine more brilliantly ex- 
pounded than in Betty Lehan Harra- 
gan's Games Mother Never Taught 
You: Corporate Gamesmanship for 

Harragan claims that women who 
enter any hierarchical organization 
suffer from "sex culture shock"; a 
result of the perceived "craziness," 
"unfairness," "stupidity," and 
"meanness" in their work environ- 
ment. How to fight this horrible 
delusion?, asks Harragan. Forget the 
female notion of fair play. Quit 
playing house. Learn the rules of the 
military/sports game and its power 
symbolism, and then play to win. 

The author describes in detail the 
workings of the military and football 
paradigms. Military maxims include 
"if it moves, salute it" and "it's the 
uniform that matters, not the person 
in it." In organizational terms, that 
means that "absolute deference to 
the authority invested in your im- 


mediate boss is the undeviating 
Number One Rule of the game." 

Since most girls have never had the 
privilege of playing football, they 
have consequently missed out on the 
fun of being a "team player." As a 
team player, an individual, with the 
cooperation of his/her associates, 
makes small, predetermined moves 
toward the end product: winning. 
Lawful deception of opponents is 
admired; the greatest attribute is 
mastery of the rules and subordina- 
tion of self to the whole. In the 
corporation, Harragan stresses, the 
team player is a disciplined follower 
who seeks excellence not as a goal 
unto itself, as women's culture pro- 
motes, but as a humble step on the 
road to success (i.e., the top of the 
pyramid). The team player may 
falter, but gets up and keeps going, 

never bothering with self-criticism or 
reevaluation of the destination. 

According to Harragan, today's 
feminist doesn't bother looking for a 
"meaningful job," that antiquated 
relic from the dissolute sixties. 
Rather, one's work is reduced simply 
to planning one's career. Harragan 

LeVs face it, there's only one 
reason to work — to make money. If 
you approach work realistically — 
that is, as a gambling game that 
everybody plays — you might find 
what you're looking for... And if you 
play skillfully, it should take about 40 
or 50 hours a week, leaving you plenty 
of time to develop an active, mean- 
ingful private life. 

The above makes sense only in light 
of the fact that Harragan, a self- 
employed writer and consultant, 
doesn't herself choose to experience 
the deadening world of 9 to 5. 

Harragan 's doctrine implies that 
feminists must accept boring and 
artificial work as a fact of life, and 
agree to continue the schizophrenic 
separation of the public world from 
the private, the realm of wage labor 
form that of the creative spirit. In her 
schema, rejecting careerism and the 
corporation is tantamount to accept- 
ing the "sustained quietude and 
meek subservience" associated with 
female culture. A woman's failure to 
"succeed" signifies her inability to be 
a liberated woman. 

In the early 70s, mainstream Ame- 
rica saw feminists as lunatic radicals 
bent on destroying the family, and to 
some extent, that perception was 

correct. Early feminism was an 
oppositional movement. Leading 
theoreticians such as Sheila Row- 
botham and Juliet Mitchell consi- 
dered sexism and sexual inequality to 
be a product of an opprssive economic 
system founded on patriarchy. Wo- 

men could achieve lasting li- 
beration only by profoundly altering 
fundamentally unequal social and 
economic relationships. 

As the seventies progressed, the 
social movements of the sixties, in- 
cluding the women's movement, lost 
their radical features. Suddenly 
100% Natural Whole Wheat was 
outselling Wonder. The counter- 
culture was growing into an economic 
force to be reckoned with. 

Baby boom women, brought up on 
an ideology of sexual equality and 
unlimited resources, entered the job 
market in time for the explosion in 
information processing. Their amor- 
phous, insubstantial attack on sexism 
(e.g., demands for equal pay and 
non-discriminatory treatment) was 
translated over time into a desire for 
"team membership." Management 
attitudes shifted in order to accomo- 
date their demands for occupational 
integrity. But women were not really 
asked to join management circles 
despite Harragan 's guidelines. They 
were simply made to feel that promo- 
tion depended on their ability to 
intercept the ball. 

As I learned working as a temp in 
the Financial District, management 
has devised certain palliatives to 
obscure the continuing sexual division 
of labor. In one word processing 
department, my friend (a regular 
employee) was clearly disgruntled 
with the company for a number of 
reasons. But she was such a con- 
scientious worker that she organized 
the entire system herself. As the only 
employee who knew how the docu- 
ments were filed on the computer, she 
was awarded supervisory status by 
management — same duties, similar 
pay. She was consulted in the 
purchase of new equipment and sent 
to conventions to keep abreast of new 
technologies. By selectively pro- 
moting women to "supervisory" or 
"technical" positions, management ' 



can ensure that their female emplo- 
yees will identify with the company 
and its goals. 

The recent development of the 
position of "administrative assistant" 
is a briUiant reorganizational mea- 
sure. Fast-disappearing is the so- 
called "social office" — the one-man, 
one-secretary system, which repli- 
cates the personal exchange between 
husband and wife. In its place is a 
more formal, atomized, highly-moni- 
tored system in which word proces- 
sors are handed copy from various 
departments, and administrative as- 
sistants, under more centraHzed su- 
pervision, shuffle the reams of ano- 
nymous paper spewed out by the 
computer. Paper-shuffling assign- 
ments, requiring organizing and ex- 
pediting, are often aggrandized into 
life-and-death importance. 

As a temporary word processor, I 
encountered administrative assistants 
everywhere. The Number One Worst 
Example worked in the Corporate 
Real Estate division of the Bank of 
America. Roxanne was known as the 
' 'office feminist. ' ' She had posters on 
her partition board displaying witty 
aphorisms about God creating woman 
and so forth; she had even gone so far 
as to clip particularly teUing episodes 
of ' 'Cathy ' ' from the comics . She was 
assertive, dressed carefully for suc- 
cess (no pants), and visited the big 
boss several times a day with perti- 
nent questions. 

Roxanne decided to make life hard 

for me, the newest and lowliest 

member of the staff. She jibed me as 

I poured water into the percolator 

("do you also do windows?") and 

about answering phones, which she 



1 ii 








stated very clearly she wouldn't do, 
even if it meant delaying my lunch 

No doubt Roxanne had read Betty 
Harragan's book of rules. The author 
states that "a woman with ambitions 
must blast out of the job classification 
before she can become a team candi- 
date." This requires a self-promotion 
campaign to convince your boss to 

reclassify your position as low-level 
management. Roxanne and her cro- 
nies were hard at work doing just that 
when I joyfully departed B of A. 

The thousands of women using the 
corporation as a vehicle for sexual 
equality have jumped on a rather 
dubious running board. The corpor- 
ate feminist has geared her psychic 



energy towards obtaining the power 
to tell people (without saying 
' 'please") what to do and how to do it. 
Many women, looking to their own 
mothers' frustrated, deferential Hves, 
have understandably vowed to look 
out for themselves. Unfortunately, 
this desire gets translated into acquir- 
ing boss-status in the marketplace. It's 
the old either/or syndrome: if I'm not 
like Mama, I'm like Papa; either I'm 
stepped on or I do the stepping. The 
quest for equality gets lost on the 
escalators of the corporate hierarchy. 
This identification with the power 
of the corporate Big Daddy does 
nothing to change women's depen- 
dent status in a patriarchal society. In 
fact, it may reinforce it. As Betty 
Harragan tells us, successful feminist 
employees defer to their superiors. 
They are motivated not by a desire to 
master their craft, but by a desire to 
please the boss. In the corporate 
world, after all, what counts is not 
innovative and independent thinking. 

but an ability to play by the rules. 
People's worth is not measured by 
their uniqueness, but by how well 
they conform to a corporate-defined 
image. Anything short of absolute 
power is never good enough. Para- 
doxically, their goal is to win 
"Daddy's" approval through total 

Fundamental to this acquiescence 
is the fact that, under patriarchy, 
women's success and self-fulfillment 
have always been obtained vis-a-vis 
men, whether economically through 
the status of a father or spouse, or 
sexually by the approving glance of a 
man. The advertising industry has 
long understood and carefully ex- 
ploited this dependency in order to 
keep women slaves to consumerism. 
Their manipulation of the meaning of 
feminism is a case in point. Years 
ago, products were said to bestow 
"femininity"; today, the same pro- 
ducts, from perfume to panty hose to 
pocketbooks, confer "power." No- 
thing has changed in the notion that 
buying is the key to social (male) 
approval. Feminism, as decreed by 
Madison Avenue, is now a very sexy 
thing, available at your local depart- 
ment store. Purchasing a briefcase 
has become elevated to a political act. 
Feminism, inherently powerful and 
revolutionary, has become the darling 
of pop culture and big business. 
Harragan and her followers must be 
told that identification with the world 
of capitalism and the false sense of 
privilege and power it conveys actu- 
ally perpetuates relationships of do- 
mination under which men and 
women can never be free. Those of us 
who work must make every effort to 
stand up for ourselves and what we 
believe, endeavoring not to please the 
boss but to please ourselves and ally 
with our coworkers. Perhaps that 
might take us one step closer to a 
more liberated society. 

— by Michelle La Place 




electric drone of alarm clock 
pushes back my dreams/ 
sweet as opium 


sipping coffee 

waiting for ttie caffeine rush 

as i go thru morning rituals/ 

preparation for the grinding clockwork 


board the bus 

finding a seat i 

pretend like everyone else that 

I'm not crying inside/ 

not wanting to be here/no more 


sitting behind a typewriter 

i whore 

smile at the bosses' crude jokes 

typing their lies 

i won 't let it get to me 

won 't let them get to me 

won 't show my fear 

morning break 

ladies lounge 

"the girls" gossip 

listening to their chatter 

I'm an outsider/ remain invisible 

in their world 

don 't you know me? 

i don 't want to have to 

do this shit no more! 

don 't want to walk on 

concrete no more. . . 

but where else to go? 

so I type 
answer phones 
smile pretty 

go out for lunch 
window shop 
mingling in the crowds 
no escaping here 

back to office madness 


stuffing envelopes 

felicita comes in for the afternoon shift 

her smile the only ray of sunshine in my day 

hola, qu^ tal? 

pues, aqui mij'a — siguiendo la lucha! 

{we whisper softly 

forbidden by the office manager 

to speak in Spanish...) 




PRorES^D iroRLC 


finally time to go home 
am carried by the crowds 
down to the street 
onto the bus/ full of 
grumpy people: 

secretaries & saleswomen 
on their way home — dinner to cook 
children to attend to 
husbands to cater to 
young salesmen, accountants 
executives buried in their newspapers 
concerned only with 
today's numbers 
wondering what's for dinner 
what's on tv 

will she give it up tonite? 
i shut my eyes 
thankful the day is past 
wanting to get off my feet 

i can 't let it get to me/ though 

heat up yesterday's rice & beans 
for me & the cats 
who scream for attention as 
soon as i open the door 
we eat 

& i drink the last of the rum 
smoke a little grass 

comfortable now in my apt/brick womb 
outside the congeros play 
their rhythms on my soul 

lighting a candle 

i dance alone in my kitchen 

baba tum tum ba 
baba tum tum ba 

until i can dance no more 

climbing into a cold bed 

i give thanks for having made it 

thru another day 

fall into a deep sleep 

only to be awakened 

too soon 

by the electric drone of alarm clock 

pushing back my dreams/ 

sweet as opium 

too soon 

it is morning 

time for another day. 

baba tum tum ba 
baba tum tum ba 








stocks I 

A Job With A Financial Newspaper 

"Dunn and Bradstreet! Look it up 

I squint at the numbers. It isn't 
even 8 a.m. What does he want from 
me? 'a can't find it." 

"You got Standard and Poor's, for 
God's sake?!" 

" Ah , here it is . " I read off the stock 
rating to an irate Quint during his 
early morning stint at the Exchange. 

The Ught is still dim, the newsroom 
bare and almost empty. I hang up the 
phone and go toward the monster 
machines which spew out wire copy. I 
cut the paper as it floats to the floor 
and heave discarded ink and obsolete 
news into large barrels. All the while, 
the noisy contrivances never cease 
printing. How to turn them off? I 
don't know. 

People begin to file in, coffees 
attached to their wrists. The man- 
aging editor and director of the 
newspaper enter together. Using 
their free hands, they reach for the 
keys to wind us from the back. Once 
revved, I whirled without pause 
around the enormous, stale room. 

All the desks are out in the open. 
Everyone is furiously composing stor- 


ies — about stocks, bonds, housing 
starts, bitter ends, futures, finished 
and unfinished business, money rates 
(early and late), commercial credits... 

I, the copyperson, scissors in h£ind, 
dart from the AP to the Dow Indus- 
trial wirecopy machines, slicing off 
relevant stories and bringing them to 
the desks, where they are made into 
thorough yet dry articles. 

"How's the market right now?" the 
reporter asks. 

I careen by — "Nervous trading!" 

I slice at the air. The news is 2dr. I 
chop off my fingers but mucilage 
saves me. Just a job. That's all it is. 

From time to time, I deliver further 
news from the center of the news- 
room: "RipOffCo has just sold to 
Profit, Greed emd Avarice Inter- 
national... a new pope was just 
appointed... PigCo just made a deal 
with Saudi Arabia... hostages were 
just taken in Iran. . . (Yes, but how does 
all this affect the MARKET, 

This job brought me into contact 
with more paper than I had ever dealt 


with before. I monitored the wire 
machines, distributed and copied the 
news, set the knobs, occasionally 
answered phones, received/sent copy 
to and from other offices via satellite, 
and on the video display terminal, I 
typed stories which were sent to the 
New Jersey headquarters. There, it 
was assembled, and the final result 
was the thin, pictureless American 
Banker newspaper. 

Down the street, the Stock Market 
hums, shaking our desks. The reason 
for our existence — 40 hours a week. 
Scattered paper. Mayhem. Ulcer- 
ridden phone calls. Stockbrokers' 
frantic feet pound through the build- 
ing. Bankers break into a sweat. Our 
own foreheads grow wet. 

Why are we here? (A question only 
asked at lunch.) 

We criticize the bosses, call them 
bastards, yet still we watch them, 
write about them, monitor their 

"Prime rate change! Hiked two 

Typewriters click furiously. Faces 
flame in frustration. People collide 
with each other. "Chase Manhattan 
was it?!" People begin raising their 


voices. "Copygirl! Any more on the 
prime rate?!" "Just a minute!" 
"Which insert has the insert in it?!" 
"Is this important?!" "For chris- 
sakes, that's the lead story, Murray!" 
The din becomes intolerable. 

It is almost 4 p.m., the deadline. I 
run to clip the retching wire ma- 
chines. Mr. B from San Francisco is 
sending copy via the QWIP machine. 
The phones are blinking. I type as fast 
as I can into the typesetter. No, two 
columns not three. Which font? No 
front. Headline? Frontline. I go as 
fast as I can. Why why why? Marilyn 
at the reception desk types a quick 
memo saying we're cut to the quick. I 
send the memo on the Rapafax to New 
Jersey. Hal is in use — I use Alice 
instead. There's a blank on the 
Analysis Page (of course). Mad 
dashes. Here there. Clip. Clip. Bor- 
ders on the insane. Byline? My line. 
Your line. Correct line. Copy. Type. 
Right away. The Right take it away. 
Who's Left? 

Here goes. For what? And then? 
Coffee. More. Tony and Joe, grim- 
acing, get the big story. Up to the 
eighth floor. Back down. More? Call 
Quint in Passaic — he has a story over 
the phone. But I don't take die! Credit 
lines, S & L's, economic indicators, 
frantic trading. Down the street the 
blisters rise on the hands of those who 
move the gold. Back and forth. The 
Fed says it's a banana. I knew it all 
the time. Shut up, I'm typing the lead 
story. But I just found it in the trash. 
That's right. Papers flying. Labor 
wasted. People dying. Meanwhile us 
— turning tricks for capitalism. Scor- 
ing. Boring. Running. Working. Sel- 
ling. The skull! 

Just a job. I am just a copyperson 
here in lower Manhattan. And it's just 
a job, I keep telling myself. I stand 
transfixed, imagining, in the middle 
of the newsroom. Just a cog in the 
wheel. But a wheel without a cog 
cannot turn. 

— by Sally A. Frye 


I retrieve from the masterdisk onto system memory 
columns of streaming figures. A flood-wall of stats. 
I key-in my operator ID, watcfi term screen roll 
to current workpage, and freeze. The termscreen 
is an eye enclosing me, while my eyes enclose it. 
Together we serve the Hive. 

Two hours pass without words; my red eyes sting. 
Three hours pass and only fingers feel. 
I cancel, the great columns blink out. 
I leave the rumble of my workcenter 
for the outerhive light. 

I do not know how long I 've lived inside Corporatania. 
It is impossible to know because we have no way 
to measure time. Personaltime tracking is considered 
unsocial activity — calendars not publiprinted now. 

I suppose this hive citadel is as good as any other. 
Anyway, I know I am better off here than in the 

Out lands 
where there is no Systemlife, orderlaw or 

Yes, production /consumption must be maintained, 
war administered, the babies fed. 
So that we may live without concerns 
the Corporate Federation presides. 

Returning to workcenter now. It is suffused 
with that high-intensity light. The thick, electrified 
air is pulsing with white energy. I wonder about the 

that Pacification Management is designing 
supernew leisuretime program options... 

Second daily workblock now begins: I sit, 
the terminal watches me key-in my ID. 
Quickly, it notes how long I've been away 

I execute into file, columns of stats come back 
I go inside, deep, where sounds, sensations, 

cannot reach. There I wait. Soon 
it will be lunch time. 

by Ron De La Houssaye 



Through the 
Tinled Glass 

I whistle brightly as I enter the 
office; outside, it's so beautiful and 
sunny, even the financial district 
looks cheerful. I'm exactly on time as 
usual. I give them no more of my time 
than I have to. 

My song ends at the door of the 
Data Entry Department. I toss my 
jacket onto the coat rack and head 
towards the coffee pot, stopping at 
desks along the way for a few good 
mornings and the compliments of the 
day. From the corner of my eye, I 
notice Mr. Howard, "our" office 
manager, looking at me disapproving- 
ly. Fuck him ... he can't stop me 
from being human; he'd love to turn 
me into one of his machines. 

Coffee in hand, 1 walk back to my 
desk, tickling hello to Susan, who 
works next to me and tolerates my 
eccentricities. Finally I settle into my 
chair, my ergonomical torture cham- 
ber. 1 sip my coffee as 1 contemplate 
the CRT, my combined savior gmd 
damnation. "Used to be I would 

erase, opaque and lift-off all day," I 
say aloud, feeling poetic. "Now it's 
just one key, backspace, and all my 
errors vanish into history ..." 
"Along with your good eyesight," 
Susan cuts in, smiling. 

My In basket is stacked with input 
forms waiting to be entered. I sigh, 
"Time for me to earn some cash so I 
can keep on living to keep on 
working. ' ' I take a bundle of forms off 
the pile and log onto the CRT. 

The morning goes by quickly. Susan 
and I are playing a game. We match 
each other's rhythm on the keyboard, 
then one of us will break stride and 
see how long it takes the other to 
realize and compensate for it. In the 
past, we used to joke: "Idiot work, 
idiot play." 

The phone rings right in the middle 
of a furious race. According to the 
way we play, the first to stop entering 


loses, and I can see Susan smirk, 
figuring on an easy win. I continue 
typing with one hand while answering 
the phone with the other. Joan down 
in Accounting wants to know if I have 
entered this particular input form 
because data on it is wrong. 

Tucking the phone under my chin, I 
flip through the finished work, all the 
while continuing to enter. It's not 
there. Then, I do my Rose Mary 
Woods imitation: still entering with 
my right hand, I stretch over my CRT 
with my left to my In box and grab the 
rest of the forms. As I twist back, my 
elbow knocks over my coffee which 
spills over my keyboard. The world 
explodes into sparks. 

The phone falls to the floor; I can 
hear Susan in the distance calling my 
name, but I stare at the CRT. I can see 
my reflection in its glare. The key- 
board crackles and snaps. I feel as if I 
am disintegrating rapidly, like a 
sweater with a loose thread that has 
gotten snagged. I unravel bit by bit 
into nothing, smiling a Cheshire Cat 
smile as my reflection evaporates. 
With a loud pop, I v£inish. 

Or do I? I'm still conscious; I feel 
my atoms knitting together, reforming 
into something not quite human. My 
shape is human, but I feel like a one- 
dimensional function. I can still see 
and hear, though. 

My surroundings are so bleak that 
I'm not sure I can see anything at all. 
I'm staggered by the dismal sensation 
. . . the brightest color is a washed 
out grey; other colors seem beyond 
the range of human vision, shades of 
frustration, depression and despair. 

A faint, constant buzzing 
sound, impossible to shut out, sur- 
rounds me. The scene takes the shape 
of a long hallway stretching into 
infinity. There are doorways at regu- 
lar intervals, and I will myself over to 
one. I look through it and see another 
endless hallway vanishing into the 
gray. It glows faintly without a light 
source, but shadows grow and flicker 
without reason. 

I decide to go exploring and set out 
down the hall. After a while, I turn 
down another hallway, and then 
another. I lose track of how many 
doorways I pass through, how many 
halls I travel. 

Then I bump into a shadow. Startled, 
I watch it resolve into a vaguely 
familiar face. I ponder for a moment 
and realize I had seen it in an old 
advertising brochure for the com- 
pany, an informal shot of the "girls" 
who helped make the firm run. 

"Ida?" I ask, "Ida Cummings?" 
Then I realize that the figure has no 
eyes. I feel as if I'm gazing into a void 
that draws me into it. Before I topple 
into the abyss, the sound of her voice 
returns me to the grey halls. 

"Who is it? You reminded me of my 
name. All this time I'd forgotten it!" 

I introduce myself and explain the 
circumstances that brought me here. 
"And you?" I ask. "How did you get 
here? What is this place, anyway?" 

"We are inside the memory banks 
of the computer," she replies. "Most 
of us materialize here very slowly; 
we're the bits and pieces from the 
souls of the people who worked on the 
CRTs outside." 


"Oh yes," she answers. "There 
are plenty of us here. Anyone who 
ever did data entry is here. We 
wander these halls, mourning the 
time we lost at work." 

"Look at me," she continues. "I 
started working when I was nineteen ; 
I was widowed during the war and 
had to work to survive. When the 
computer arrived, they phased out my 
job and gave me a choice — quit or do 
data processing — after all, I was a 
fast typist. Rather than lose my 
pension, I took the job, but everyday, 
after entering for eight hours, I'd go 
home drained." 

"Eventually, I awoke here. My 
other self still exists. The later ones 
here tell me she retired six years ago 
and travels quite a bit. But I'm sure 
she must realize she left me behind." 



I confirm the travels of the other Ida 
in the real world. I remember post- 
cards on the lunchroom bulletin board 
addressed to the older employees. 

I hear a noise behind me. I turn 
around to see who it is and recognize 
Maria. She trained me on my job 
because she was pregnant again. She 
had three girls already, but her 
husband wanted a boy. Still, Maria 
was glad to quit. She had hated 
leaving her kids with a babysitter. She 
used to complain that she never had 
time to help them grow up. 

"I thought that voice sounded 
familiar," she says. She touches my 
face and asks, "You must be able to 
see. Why?" 

She is excited when I tell her my 
story. "We have a live one! Great! 
Maybe you can find us a way out of 

All of us start walking down 
another hall. On the way we encoun- 
ter others, some I know, some that I 
had heard about. There was even a 
wispy version of Karen, who had 
worked in the Data Entry Department 
for two days before she walked out, 
leaving a cigarette burning in the 
ashtray and a half-eaten sweet roll on 
her desk. 

Every soul we meet regrets having 
worked; it had stolen time from them 
that could never be replaced. 

I freeze as we turn a corner. For 
there I see an apparition less substan- 
tial than the rest. Though I should 
expect this, I screeun. It is myself, 
with empty eye sockets. I close my 
eyes and scream again. 

And scream again. A soothing voice 
says, "There, there, you'll be alright. 
The company doctor has been called. ' ' 
I slowly open my eyes. I am lying on 
the couch in the women's room; Susan 

is holding my hand. 
"It's alright, you got a nasty shock. 

You've been out almost fifteen 
minutes," Susan says. "You had us 
all scared . . . well, almost all of us. 
Can you believe it, Howard actually 
called the repair technician before he 
called the doctor." 

Ignoring Susan's pleas, I get up 
and walk back into the office. Sure 
enough, the repair tech has arrived 
and has put her tools down on my 
desk. She's talking to Mr. Howard in 
his cubicle, probably about the 

As I approach the CRT, all those 
haunted faces appear on the screen, 
calling for me to free them. I know 
exactly how to repair this CRT. I reach 
into the toolbox gmd pull out a wrench. 
A single blow shatters the screen. 

— Freddie 
with thanks to Gerry Reith 



Unloch Your Mind 


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